As I discussed in my last blog post, Getting Your Pond Ready for Spring, it is important to give your pond a fresh start this season by cleaning out the old, dirty water and filling it with fresh, treated water. However, once your pond water has been swapped out, there are several additional steps you need to take to ensure that it stays balanced and can effectively support life.
Plants and fish are what help to make your pond a beautiful ecosystem. However, those same forms of life also create imbalances in the pond water that can cause problems if they aren’t monitored and dealt with effectively. Therefore, once you’ve done your spring cleaning and put new water in your pond, take the following steps to ensure that your backyard pond will function properly.
4 Steps to Balanced Pond Water and Healthy Pond Life
Balanced water is essential to creating and maintaining a healthy ecosystem in your backyard pond. It is important to equip yourself with the proper pond supplies for testing and treating your pod water, because it is necessary to regularly:
• Use a test kit to monitor the pH, chlorine, nitrate, and ammonia levels in your pond.
• Maintain ideal pH levels in your pond to keep your water clear and your fish and plant life healthy and happy. Good pH levels are right around 7.0, because that means water is neutral. Higher levels indicate too much ammonia build-up in the pond, and lower levels indicate that the water is too acidic and your fish aren’t getting enough oxygen. You can do partial water changes to help balance the pH levels, and if they continually fluctuate into dangerous levels, you can use a buffer such as calcium carbonate in small amounts to help regulate.
• Eliminate any chlorine detected in the water by using a dechlorinator or chlorine neutralizer. Chlorine prevents beneficial bacteria from growing.
• Monitor the amount of nitrate and ammonia in your pond. Both of these chemicals are a result of the metabolic waste produced by your fish. If levels are too high, excessive algae will grow, oxygen will be depleted, and your fish and other plant life will suffer. A good pond filter should help to get rid of most of the nitrate and ammonia build-up in your pond, and water plants can also help to keep levels low.
It is essential to regularly monitor and adjust each of these pond water components, because one of the most important aspects of plant and fish health is consistency. Fish in particular react poorly to abrupt changes – they are sensitive and delicate creatures, and it is up to you to create and maintain an ecosystem in which they can comfortable survive.