Tag Archives: winter pond

The Do’s & Don’ts For Ponds

Pond keeping can be a mind field when it comes to knowing what you can and can’t do to achieve algae free, crystal clear water. One ‘expert’ will tell you to do this, another ‘expert’ will tell you to do that and suddenly it all becomes a very confusing, tangled web of conflicting information.

We are not claiming to be experts but we do know a lot about bacteria and how it thrives in ponds. Therefore, we have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to help you create the perfect water conditions in your pond, keep algae at bay and maintain a balanced eco system.

DO treat your pond with a bacterial product on a regular basis.
Beneficial, aerobic bacteria is the foundation to any ponds eco system, it keeps algae at bay by eliminating any excess nutrients in the pond, prevents sludge from becoming anaerobic and releasing toxic hydrogen sulphide into the pond and helps prevent fish illnesses.
Bacteria needs to be topped up regularly. As with any living organism, it only has a certain lifespan and once it has died, it needs replacing.

DO use a hosepipe to wash your filters.
This is a very conflicting point within the pond industry but at Envii we recommend using a hosepipe to wash filters. The chlorine that is found in tap water is only present as a trace element and the amount that is left behind on the filters is so small that it will have a very insignificant effect on the bacteria that is present in the pond.
By using pond water to wash your filters, you will remove a lot more of the bacteria that is present in the pond and then have to replace the pond water with tap water.

DO check your water parameters on a regular basis.
Although your water may look clear, it may not be the quality, healthy water that your fish need. Check your water parameters every couple of weeks to ensure your pH, KH, ammonia and other levels are where they should be. If you don’t know what your water parameters should be, have a read of our Water Parameters post. Water parameters can change rapidly and can have severe consequences on your fish.
If you find that your water parameters are not where they should be, use Pond Equaliser to instantly stabilise them and create the perfect water conditions for your fish.

DO ask for technical advice.
Nobody wants to buy a product that they think is going to solve their problem, only to find out that they have purchased the wrong product or not used it correctly. We provide expert advice not only for our products, but for any other pond query either by email or phone. So, take advantage of us and give us a call!

DO treat your pond with a bacterial product all year.
We hear from more and more people every week who had a crystal-clear pond in winter that suddenly went green in spring. Algae won’t grow below 8°C which is why ponds look good during winter. However, bacteria also die when it gets below a certain temperature and with a lack of algae to feed on, come spring their numbers have decreased drastically. The depleted number of bacteria, coupled with the rise in temperature in spring quickly results in an algae bloom that will turn your water green.
Treat your pond with Winter Pond Treatment during the colder months to keep bacteria present in the pond and prevent an algae bloom in spring.

DO keep your pumps and filters running all year.
A lot of pond owners decide that once the temperature drops, the pumps should be turned off as the pond can no longer be enjoyed. However, by turning the pumps off, you will be creating problems that will not show themselves until spring. During winter, a lot of debris falls in to ponds and starts to break down. If this debris is not cleared out, it releases excess nutrients into the water that algae will feed on when spring arrives.
Keep your pump and filter running to remove any of this debris and keep the water moving.

DON’T empty your pond and start again.
One common misconception when a pond is struggling with algae or green water is to empty all the water out, clean the pond and refill it. However, this is possibly the worst thing to do in this situation. By removing all the water, you also remove any of the beneficial bacteria that was in the pond. When the pond is refilled it is filled with what is technically sterile water that contains chlorine, toxic heavy metals and little to no bacteria. Initially, the pond appears to be in a very good condition as the sterile water stays clear for a few weeks but then quickly turns green due to the lack of bacteria available to fight off any algae spores.
If for some reason you do have to empty your pond, introduce a bacterial product as soon as you have refilled to introduce bacteria into the pond straight away.

DON’T remove blanket weed whilst it is still alive
The most obvious thing to do when you see blanket weed appearing in your pond is to pull it out and throw it away. If you have ever done this, you will know that within days, the blanket weed reappears and you begin the cycle again.
If you remove blanket weed when it is still alive (green) the strands tear and release new spores back into the water.
Ensure that any blanket weed you remove has been killed first by using Blanketweed Klear. For more information on blanket weed, read our post on How to Get Rid of Blanket Weed.

DON’T change your filters
If your filters are getting dirty when using a bacterial product, it is because your pond is dirty. You should only clean the filters, not change them.
Bacteria anchor themselves on to the filters and digest any algae or sludge that gets caught. If you change the filters, you remove all the beneficial bacteria that has been added to the filters.
If you have to change your filters, be sure to apply a bacterial product directly to the new filters.

DON’T introduce plants without leaching out fertiliser
When buying plants to add into your ponds, the easiest place to buy them from is the local garden centre. However, these plants are grown in fertilisers that aim to speed up the growing process to allow the garden centres to sell them quicker. If these plants are added straight into the pond, the fertiliser leaches out and in to the pond, harming the beneficial bacteria.
Before adding plants to the pond, put them in a bucket of water for 7-10 days and change the water every day. This will leach out the fertiliser and they will then be safe to add to the pond. For more information on pond plants, read our post Should I Keep Aquatic Plants.

DON’T feed fish during winter
As the temperature starts to drop in autumn, you should consider changing over to a high protein food for your fish. When winter begins, stop feeding your fish all together. Fish don’t feed throughout winter, so the food that is thrown into the pond will break down and release nutrients into the pond to feed any algae spores when the temperatures rise.

DON’T allow your pond to freeze over completely during winter
You should avoid letting your pond freeze over during winter at all costs. If the pond does freeze over completely, it will create an air tight seal that will not allow any oxygen to enter the pond or any toxic gases to leave the pond. If this continues for an extended period, it may result in fish death. For more tips on caring for your pond in winter read our Preparing Pond for Winter post.

DON’T overstock the pond
It is very easy to overstock a pond, after all, who wants a clear pond and only two fish to look at. However, if a pond contains too many fish it can have a big effect on the water quality in the pond. Fish produce a lot of waste; this waste gives off ammonia which can in turn raise the pH in the pond and lead to illness or death among the fish.
As a rule of thumb it is recommended that a pond has 55cm of fish per 1,000 litres. The average fish size in UK ponds is around 6 inches so this would equate to 3-4 fish per 1,000  litres.

Do's & Don'ts Infographic

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Preparing Your Pond For Winter

For any enthusiastic gardener, autumn is a perplexing time. Your arduous work throughout spring and summer begins to fade away, with the promise of next season and another fruitful crop just on the horizon. Pond keepers are no different in this respect; they toil all year to fight off algae blooms and keep their pond in the best condition for its inhabitants, only to be bombarded with algae come spring. The thought of having to cover up the pond, no longer being able to sit around and enjoy it with a cold drink in hand, can be a little sad. However, with a little maintenance during autumn and winter, your pond will be match fit for the first sign of a warm spring day.

The main priority for any pond owner throughout the year is to keep the pond water ‘healthy’. If the water parameters are correct in terms of pH and KH (carbonate hardness), you will provide a healthy environment for aquatic wildlife, fish and beneficial bacteria. It cannot be stressed enough, that without the water parameters being correct, beneficial probiotic bacteria will struggle to deal with the unwanted organics added during autumn & winter that elevate the risk of fish & wildlife death and algae blooms in spring.

Without any care or maintenance over autumn and winter, ponds begin to form a layer of sludge on the bottom from unwanted organics such as leaves, twigs and faecal waste from fish and wildlife. Whilst frogs and newts love to lay in this sludge, if left untreated, it can cause an imbalance in the water, making it poisonous to wildlife and fish by discharging Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) gas from anaerobic bacteria inside the sludge.

Essential Autumn Care Tasks
To prevent an algae bloom in spring, complete these simple tasks during autumn:

Check your water quality

After a spring and summer of algae, acidic rain and fish waste your pH and KH levels will need adjusting. The pH should be between 7 & 8.3 and the KH level should be above 5. You can either buy a quality testing kit, take a sample of water to your local water garden centre or simply use Pond Equaliser to instantly stabilise the pH at 8, and KH above 5. Pond Equaliser will also remove any ammonia and heavy metals to create a safe and healthy environment for fish, wildlife and beneficial probiotic bacteria.

Add bacteria

Add quality, probiotic bacteria that are capable of working at temperatures lower than 08°C. Use Pond Klear for smaller ponds, Natural Pond Klear for larger natural ponds and Winter Pond Treatment for the colder winter months. Task-specific probiotic bacteria slowly digest any debris and unwanted organics and reduce the toxic H2S levels.

Tend to plants

Prune back any aquatic plants and remove any floating debris from the pond; this debris can be deposited in a compost heap as it is high in nitrogen and other essential nutrients for plant growth. Don’t forget to check for any wildlife that may be hibernating when removing aquatic plants or sludge; newts and frogs will hibernate in sludge and dragonfly larvae can lie dormant in plants for several months. When you remove any debris or plants from a pond, leave them at the side for a couple of hours to allow any wildlife to make its way back to the pond.

Cover up

Cover your pond with a net to catch leaves and twigs; leave gaps around the edge to allow wildlife to get in and out of the pond. The frogs and newts that may be hibernating at the bottom of the pond will be ready and waiting to eradicate slugs and snails in spring.

Put your fish on a diet

Feed fish less as the temperature drops, or consider moving to a low protein food. As temperatures drop, fish eat less, once it gets below a certain temperature they will stop feeding. If you continue feeding them, the wasted food will break down, release nutrients into the water to feed any algae and will add to the layer of sludge at the bottom.

Deep clean

If you have a filter, clean it thoroughly in autumn to remove any algae or debris trapped during summer and clean monthly throughout autumn and winter.

Keep it moving, slowly

Keep pumps and filters running all year; they will continue removing debris and prevent the pond from freezing over. If possible, turn the flow rate down to avoid cooling the water further. If water freezes over, it restricts the available oxygen for fish, and seals in the toxic gases that can be released from decaying organics.

Check your water quality, again…

Most important of all, get the water parameters right to increase the ponds biological self-cleaning ability, as this will reduce the amount of work required, and increase the enjoyment of your pond in spring & summer 2018.

For more information on why ponds go green in spring, read our blog post here.