To prevent pond sludge build up in autumn, follow these three steps:
Note: You can find an improved and update guide to preventing pond sludge on our new website!
- Check the water quality pH and KH levels to ensure your parameters are balanced
Before you get started on any pond maintenance jobs, check your water parameters.
The change of weather from the hot summer temperatures and high sunlight exposure to darker days and increased rainfall have a massive impact on the pH and KH (carbon hardness) levels of pond water.
Healthy pond water should have a pH reading between 7 to 8.3 and the KH levels should be above 5.
It’s important to have these water parameters balanced to prevent problems such as algae growth and fish illness or death further down the line. And if they aren’t balanced, it will be a lot easier to treat the problem if you’re aware of the state of your pond early on.
- Reduce feeding to prevent the build-up of fish and food waste debris
Fish become less active during cold weather, often residing at the bottom of the pond. And as the temperature drops with the season, so does their metabolism. Due to this, the natural biological processes of fish are slowed down, meaning their digestion is less efficient.
You need to gradually reduce your feeding routine to accommodate the new metabolism of fish. This will not only prevent the build-up of fish waste but also food waste.
Any excess food that fish don’t eat decomposes in the pond, and over time will turn into debris that forms pond sludge, interfering with the balance of pond water parameters.
- Cut back and remove dead plants and fallen leaves from the pond
A common cause of sludge builds up in ponds over autumn is leaf fall.
You need to remove leaves that have already fallen into the pond using a pond skimmer and consider adding a pond net throughout autumn/winter, to catch any future falling leaves.
When leaves fall into the pond and aren’t removed, they sink to the bottom and gradually decay. This forms part of the unwanted organics along with the fish and food waste mentioned above.
All these organics combined contribute to the increased presence of anaerobic bacteria which release Hydrogen Sulphide, a gas that causes your pond to have a ‘rotten egg’ smell. In addition to throwing off the balance of water parameters, again mentioned above.
How to Remove Pond Sludge
The best way to deal with any sludge currently present in your pond is to treat it with a biological pond water treatment such as Sludge Klear.
It contains millions of beneficial bacteria that can digest organic matter and nutrients that usually forms sludge, at temperatures as low as 4 degrees Celsius.