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3 Ways To Determine If Your Pond Has A Problem

Posted on April 11 2019

3 Ways To Determine If Your Pond Has A Problem
People love water - the sound, the movement and the sight of water! It brings us peace and relaxation! Having a back yard pond is a popular way to have that sound, view, and movement all of the time! However, without proper setup and maintenance, your pond may result in a big problem for you and maybe your fish! Which in turn will create more stress and less time to enjoy your pond. Here at Pond Supply, we want you to enjoy every minute of your pond, because we know you spent a lot of time and money building it! Below we will talk about three different ways you can tell if your pond has a problem and what you can do about it.

Here are three ways to determine if your pond has a problem

    Fish are gasping at the top of the water or are looking sick
    Algae is starting to grow and/or the rocks are becoming black and slimy
    The water is very murky. Maybe so much so you can't see your fish!

In any of these three situations, chances are you have an abundance of nutrients in the water resulting in increased aquatic growth and some instances low dissolved oxygen.  

Fish that are gasping are in dire need of help. First, drain a third of your pond and replace with fresh water. Second, get a pond aeration system installed ASAP. The Koi Air aeration system is fantastic for back yard water gardens. Usually when you see fish gasping at the surface of the pond its because there is a lack of dissolved oxygen within the water body. Installing an aeration system will help increase the dissolved oxygen levels to ensure your fish stay healthy. Aeration also helps circulate the surface of the water which in turn will reduce the available suitable habitat for mosquitos to lay there eggs. If you want you can go read more about all the different benefits of aeration in our blog post "Benefits of Aeration."

Algae develop when there are access nutrients in the water column. There are thousands of species of algae, but they are mainly broken down into three different categories — Filamentous, planktonic, and Chara.

    Planktonic algae, the source of algae blooms, are floating, microscopic plants that color pond water shades of green, blue-green, brown or variations in between. In controlled amounts, this type of algae can be beneficial. It can shade the pond’s bottom, preventing subsurface nuisance plants from growing. However, in excess amounts, it can reduce oxygen levels and hinder fish feeding.

 

    Filamentous algae are single-celled plants that form a long, visible chain, threads or filaments. These threads, which start growing along the bottom of the lake in shallow water or on rocks or other aquatic plants, intertwine and form mats that resemble wet wool. When these mats rise to the surface, they’re commonly referred to as pond scum.

 

    Chara is a gray-green branched multicellular alga that has 6 to 16 leaf-like branchlets that grow in spirals around the stem. Though bottom-growing Chara superficially resembles terrestrial plants, it lacks flowers, true leaves, and roots. It has a skunky, musty, garlicky-type smell and has a crunchy- or grit-type texture, thanks to calcium carbonate deposits on its surface.

 

To reduce the algae you will need to begin a treatment plan to reduce the nutrient load using beneficial bacteria. Pond Clear is great for larger ponds, Clarity Max, Biological Clarifier & One Fix are great for smaller back yard ponds. Depending on how bad your pond is and what products you decide to use will determine how often to apply the products. However, most of these products should be applied once a week to once every two weeks. Just read the label directions on the back of the product.

If your pond water is extremely murky, it could be caused by several things. It either could be caused by algae, decomposed material, wildlife or erosion if the water looks like the color a tea bag makes in your teacup then it could be caused by the decomposition of leaf litter. When an abundance of leaves decompose they release tannins which turn the water to a brown tea like color. To prevent this from happening, ensure you have a skimmer installed. Or ensure you remove the leaves from the water body before they start to decompose. If it is easier, you may want to place a  large net over the top of the pond until all of the leaves have fallen off the trees. The net will help stop the leaves from falling into the pond; once all the leaves have fallen, you can then remove the net.

Fish and waterfowl are among the primary causes of mud-colored pond water. Fish species, such as goldfish, carp, and bullhead, spawn and feed in shallow water, making it appear muddy if their numbers are high. Ducks and geese can cause similar problems, and they often feed on bank vegetation, which increases erosion, worsening the problem. Therefore ensure you only have a few fish and prevent any waterfowl from using your water body.

Eroding soil along the banks of your pond can cause soil particles to enter the water. Over time, the soil particles muddy the water and it can be challenging to clear. Clay particles are particularly problematic. When these erode into the water, they repel each other instead of clumping and settling, giving the appearance of a soupy, chocolate-colored mixture. To ensure the soil surrounding your pond isn't eroding, plant lots of vegetation around the area and place a variety of large and small sized rocks. Also, ensure that your ponds banks are not steeply sloped.

We highly suggest if you are in the beginning stages of building your pond that you build it correctly from the beginning. This ensures that you will have a lot less maintenance and issues developing in your pond down the road and prevents you from having to fix or redesign your pond years later. Installing the proper systems will help prevent against low dissolved oxygen levels, erosion, the formation of algae, and your pond water from becoming murky. To read a step by step guide to creating a perfect backyard pond then go read our blog post "Building the Perfect Backyard Pond."

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