Fish Pond Maintenance

I have been taking care of ponds and lakes for better than 3 decades now and I have seen all the good and bad that come with ponds. Healthy ponds are like lawns and gardens; you have to do maintenance to keep them healthy.

Pond algae problems are one of the most common problems that plague pond owners. Combine healthy soil and good water and you will grow algae, that is a given, no way around it, but you don’t have to let it take over. In the parts of the country that white Amur(grass carp) are legal there is no better way to safely control algae and most other vegetation in your pond. This is a fish that will control vegetation and live up to 20 years. But even with the white Amur in there cleaning up on the vegetation you will still have a problem with fertility levels as the pond ages. Dead fish, tree leaves, fish manure all this will built up over time and put the fertility levels thru the roof, and in some areas Amur are not legal to use. there are options that will not financially break you up and are environmentally friendly pond treatments.

Koenders water solutions sell a product called nature’s pond conditioner. This is not a harmful chemical,nature’s pond conditioner is a combination of good bacteria and fast acting enzymes along with food grade dyes. The bacteria are good bacteria that consume all of the dead and decaying organic matter on the bottom of your pond or lake essentially eating the same food source as the non- beneficial. The enzymes essentially speed up the whole process and facilitate the transformation into a healthy pond ecosystem. Every season your pond will have tree leaves, under water vegetation, fish waste and dead fish sink to the bottom and start to break down, you probably refer to this stuff as black, stinky, muck. Every pond will have muck, some worse than others, and if nothing is done to slow or stop this process your pond will turn into a swamp.

Every year in the late summer, when it is at its hottest, I will get phone calls from pond owners that are losing fish. The most common scenario, the customer will tell me that yesterday my pond looked fine and today all my fish are dead or dying. The problem is dead and dying plant life and most the common plant life to do this is an algae bloom. Algae bloom is a tiny plant life that will give your water color, coming in a verity of shades. Light green, dark green, and dark brown are the most common colors the bloom will tint your pond water. Healthy ponds will support algae blooms also but the bloom will only become a problem when the fertility is too high. Duck weed and water meal are two more examples of high fertility weeds. These two plants will only grow in ponds that the fertility levels are thru the roof. Duck weed looks like a tiny version of clover, only about 1/8″ in size, water meal is light green and looks like a tiny seed. Both of these plants reproduce by forming a new version of their selves and splitting off every 24 to 48 hours, both are floating vegetation. Once these types of vegetation become a problem they are very hard to get rid of.

Prevention is the best solution.

I recommend to all pond owners that they utilize some kind of aeration, I like bottom aeration and we have been using and recommending Koenders windmills and electric aerators for 20 years. Koenders aeration systems pump air thru an airline down to an air stone that you place on the bottom of the pond, as the air comes out of the stone it is broken down in to a fine mist of bubbles. Bottom-up aeration does a very good job of bringing the bad water off the bottom and mixing it up with the good. Also as the bubbles break the surface the gases from the decaying plant matter escape the pond and in turn the fertility levels begin to drop. To clean the muck up even better, pour natures pond conditioner in your pond and the combination of the two systems will bring your pond back in to a healthy state or keep your new pond new.

This spring I had a repeat customer stop in to pick up more pond conditioner; this would be his second year for using both a windmill aeration system and the pond conditioner. He had a lot of good things to say about the two systems. He told me that he was amazed how much muck was consumed by the enzymes and bacteria that are in the pond treatment and how clean the water looked since he had started with this environmentally friendly approach.

There is a place in our world for chemicals, used right they are beneficial. I’m just not in favor of using a lot of pond chemicals when we have environmentally friendly pond treatments at our disposal. There is proof that each generation of plant life that we use herbicides to control the more resistant these plants become and the more chemicals we have to use to control them.
The mucky bottom line

Fish pond maintenance is fairly simple, control the fertility and you control the vegetation. All getting done with preventive maintenance .we have access to products and equipment that is relatively inexpensive. Windmills that harness the wind to aerate the water for free and good bacteria and enzyme blends that will turn stinky muck into clean water, what more can we ask for?

How about a dye that makes your water a dark natural color to enhance the looks and at the same time block the sun light from the plant life.Plants need sunlight to grow, take that from them and now you have one more tool to control plant growth. Nature’s pond conditioner has everything – bacteria, enzymes and food grade dye to do just that.

Do yourself and the next generation a favor, keep it natural.

Steve Fender
Koenders Water Solutions

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE WRITER: Steve Fender is the author of the award winning book “Farm Pond Management” a common sense guide to keeping ponds, and fish healthy. Steve has volume 2 of his book available for sale this fall. Fender’s Fish Hatchery is the largest and oldest fish hatchery in the Mid-West. For more information on how you can buy one of Steve’s book visit Fender’s Fish Hatchery or visit Koenders Windmills or one of the leading retailers that carry his soft cover book. www.koenderswindmills.com or www.fendersfishhatchery.com