If you have a pond outside, especially near a garden, you know how it can make your entire yard beautiful. However, most people don’t know the proper outdoor fish pond care. Not knowing how to care for your pond correctly, can result in poor water quality, unhealthy plants, and even the death of the fish. However, outdoor fish pond care isn’t as difficult as it seems.
Below are 7 tips for outdoor fish pond care to help to keep your pond water clean and of good quality.
This is probably the biggest mistake most pond owner makes. Fish need room to grow and swim. The more room they have in the pond to move around, the happier and healthier they will be.
When it’s time to choose fish for your pond, make sure you know how big they get when they are an adult. For example, koi seem small when they are young, but an adult can grow up to 2 feet in length or even more! Usually, these large fish are kept in a large pond, but if they are kept in a smaller pond, only a few of them are kept.
Another thing to keep in mind is fish breeding. Most fish species lay hundreds of eggs at a time, some even more. So if you have a couple of fish in the pond right now, in a few months, they can multiply into hundreds of fish by the end of the year! You can trim the population of the fish by selling the fry or making your pond bigger to accommodate them.
Like a human, fish get stressed as well. If it’s a small pond and there are too many fish in there, it can cause them to be stressed. This can lead to inactivity, disease, and even death.
Feeding The Fish
When it comes to feeding the fish, most people just like to grab a handful of fish food and toss it into the water and leave. While this seems like it will cause no harm to the fish, in reality, it does. Food that doesn’t get eaten by the fish right away, sinks to the bottom of the pond and decays. This will cause the water to become dirty and will cause your pond’s filtration system to be cleaned more often.
Like any other living thing, fish need food to live. There are all kinds of different types of fish food available on the market. You can buy them in cans, packages, and even live ones. Before choosing one to feed your fish, you’ll need to figure out what species your fish are and what they like to eat. Not all fish eat the same type of food.
For example, goldfish might prefer flake fish food and koi might eat only stick fish food. If you have different species of fish in the pond, it doesn’t hurt to feed them their preferred fish food at one time.
When feeding them, it’s best to feed them a small amount of food at a time. Usually, you should give them enough food which they can consume in 2-3 minutes.
Once the fish eat all the food, you can then throw another handful of food for them. If there are a lot of fish in your pond, make sure all the fish get enough to eat. The smaller fish will usually stay at the bottom or under plants because of the bigger fish. For this reason, you should make sure they get their share of food.
As for the time of the day to feed them, usually, it’s a good idea to feed them once in the morning and once late in the afternoon. This prevents the fish from being overfed and gaining unnecessary weight, which is bad for the fish. Another reason is to give the fish enough time between each meal to digest the food completely.
Overfeeding them can cause more harm not only to the fish but to the pond as well. The more food that the fish eat, the more waste there will be in the pond. Waste from fish contains ammonia, along with a variety of nutrients like phosphorus and potassium.
Too much of ammonia in the water can kill the fish so you’ll want to keep an eye on the ammonia level in your pond. If you suspect a high level of ammonia in your pond water, you can use ammonia detoxify to reduce the ammonia in the water.
Proper Balance Of Plants
Aquatic plants not only make the pond more attractive, but it also helps prevent the pond from getting too warm. As you know, the hotter the water is, the lesser the oxygen level in the water is.
There are many aquatic plants to choose from. They range in all colors and sizes. The most popular aquatic plant is water lily and lotus plants. They have large leaves to provide shading. Besides these plants, there are many others available which you can choose from. They are available at your local nursery store or an aquatic online store.
Before you go and buy aquatic plants, it’s best to design and plan your pond first. Plan on where you’ll be placing them and how much you should buy. Remember, 40% to 60% of the surface area of your pond should be covered by aquatic plants. Too many plants can cause oxygen deficiencies at night due to the photosynthetic process when the plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.
Choosing The Right Size Pump For The Pond
The pump is the lifeblood of the pond. This is what circulates water throughout the pond. It pulls dirty water from the pond and into the filter, and pumps clean water back into the pond. With a pump, you’ll be spending most of your day cleaning the pond’s water.
When choosing a pump, it’s best to choose a good brand that’s reliable. Reliability usually comes at a high price, but in the long run, you’ll save more money due to less maintenance. The pump should circulate the entire pond’s water volume once every hour.
Pond pumps come in different sizes and styles. You can choose from an underwater pump to a waterfall pump. The underwater pump is placed along the bottom of the pond and it circulates water throughout the pond. The waterfall pump is placed at the bottom of the pond as well. Instead of circulating water throughout the pond, it pumps water into the waterfall. Both handle the job as it should, but choosing a pump will depend on your decoration for the pond.
Debris In The Pond
Every outdoor pond will get some kind of debris in the water. Leaves, grass cutting, branches, and dead plants are the usual debris found in ponds. While most people don’t think this is a big issue in reality, it is. If the debris is left in the pond over a period of time, it will start to decay. With the decaying debris combined with the leftover fish food, the ammonia levels in the pond will spike quickly. High levels of ammonia can kill the fish in the pond. This is why you need to clean out the debris often.
While you can’t prevent debris from your yard from ending up in your pond, there are a couple of ways you can lessen the chance of debris in your pond.
One of the ways is to keep garden plants and trees from being too close to the pond. Another way is to cover the pond with a net. This will work great if you have a small pond. If you have a large pond, netting usually will not work.
Proper Filtration For The Pond
The filter is another important factor for proper pond care. The filter should be the correct size to match your pond. Most manufacturers will give you an outline of how big the filter should be based on how many gallons your pond holds. However, you should use your judgment in choosing the correct size. Fish population, aquatic plants, and the time of the year play a big factor when choosing filters. If you have a large population of fish in the pond, you’ll need a larger filter than recommended by the manufacturer. This is due to more fish waste being deposited into the water.
Temperature can be a threat to your pond. When the temperature exceeds 75º Fahrenheit, the oxygen in the pond is dissolved. Since fish needs oxygen to live, the hot temperature is a real danger to them. The optimal temperature in the pond should be around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Summer is the worst season of the year for the pond. Not only does the sun heat up the water in the pond which reduces oxygen level, but it also produces algae, especially green algae in the pond. Algae don’t cause damage to the pond, but a lot of them can. They cover up rocks, the bottom of the pond, and even the fish. By preventing the high temperature in the pond, it can slow down algae growth.
To keep the pond cool, you can grow trees around the pond. Another solution is to grow aquatic plants in the pond. Plants help keeps the water cool by deflecting most of the heat away from the water. Just remember to not cover the entire pond with them, about 50% coverage of the entire pond is optimal.
As you can see, outdoor fishpond care isn’t an easy task like most people think. If you choose the right equipment for your pond, you can save yourself time and money. Not only will it help you, but it will also surely make your fish happy as well. A clean pond equals happy fish.