Adding a water garden with fish to your backyard has been a growing trend over the past couple decades. Water gardens allow you to create a tranquil, quiet place right in your backyard. They’re also a great way to add beauty to your Southern California property.
By adding fish to your pond, you’re able to bring a piece of nature to your home. After a long day at work or during the weekend, you can go into your backyard, sit by your koi pond and enjoy the scenery. Another fun feature is that over time, koi fish will begin to recognize you, which makes feeding time fun for the whole family.
As with all ponds, fish ponds require some effort to keep them clean and healthy. There’s a common misconception that fish pond maintenance is time-consuming and difficult, but this isn’t the case. By following these 9 fish pond maintenance tips, you’ll be able to keep the work to a minimum, allowing you to spend more time enjoying your beautiful water garden. (more…)
Bacteria are microscopic unicellular organisms, typically spherical, rod-like, or spiral and threadlike in shape, often clumped into colonies. Some bacteria cause disease, while others perform an essential role in nature in recycling of materials.
For example, bacteria aids in the recycling of decomposed organic matter into a form available for reuse by plants. Some forms of bacteria are used to stabilize organic wastes in wastewater treatment plants, oil spills, or other pollutants.
Bacteria is very important in the function of your pond ecosystem. There are countless types of bacteria, something for every function. Bacteria work together to form a giant recycling plant by taking waste and dead material and converting it back into usable nutrients in the food chain.
Bacteria prefer to be anchored to a substance like rocks or gravel, and are found in largest quantities in the mist of decomposing leaves. Putting rocks and gravel in a pond significantly reduces the amount of muck buildup in the bottom of the pond. This is because rocks and gravel provide many places for bacteria to call “home”, much more than a bare liner. More bacteria means more capacity to break down fish waste and plant debris, which leads to better water quality.
The type of bacteria we recommend using in our pond systems is a safe, non-toxic combination of specially blended bacteria and enzymes. It is designed to assist in controlling water quality and is similar to the bacteria naturally present in oceans, rivers, streams, and lakes in that it assists in completely breaking down dead organic matter thereby minimizing the release of nutrients and toxins into the water. It is recommended that this special mix of bacteria be introduced into a newly established water garden and continued thereafter in two to three week intervals.
Aquatic algae, (thought of by many as pond scum) are microscopic plants that grow in sunlit water that contains phosphates, nitrates, and other nutrients. Algae, like all aquatic plants, add oxygen to the water and are important in the fish food chain. They share many characteristics with plants, although they lack true stems, roots, and do not flower. Common algae that forms in ponds include planktonic algae (green water algae) and filamentous algae (string algae).
Algae is actually important and beneficial to a pond or water garden. It is part of the eco-system we want to establish in the ponds because it helps in maintaining good water quality. If the pond filtration and circulation system are properly designed, the nutrients and toxins can be controlled, there by controlling algae growth. The perceived algae problem begins when algae grow in abundance, but this condition is really a symptom or an indicator of excessive nutrients and or toxins in the pond water.
Excess nutrients are typically caused from feeding the fish too much, too often, or both. In addition, leaves, grass, or other organic material find their way into the pond, settle to the bottom and begin decaying and releasing nutrients into the water.
Excess toxins are typically generated directly from fish and decomposing matter. When fish breath they release ammonia into the water form their gills. If the pond is overstocked, either by too many fish or too large of fish, you may find the water looks like pea soup. In addition, decomposing organic material such as fish waste, leaves, sticks, grass, etc., can generate toxins.
As a general rule, if you are experiencing an algae problem, adding more of the ‘right kind’ of filtration will help you reduce and manage the amount of algae in your pond.
- Plants, such as lilies, shade the pond and reduce the amount of sunlight available for algae growth.
- Fish, especially koi, will eat a tremendous amount of algae.
- Rocks and gravel provide surface areas for bacteria to colonize in and between the rocks, which is like having an additional biological filter in the pond.
- Skimmers act as a mechanical filter by removing leaves and other debris from the surface of the pond before they can sink to the bottom and decompose and then turn into either nutrients or toxins.
- Biological Filters provide an area for bacteria and enzymes to colonize which consume nutrients and help break down organic debris and fish waste that would otherwise contribute to water quality problems.
Algae is a part of nature just like the other parts of the eco-system. The main goal in keeping clean water is not to attempt to completely rid your pond of algae, but to keep it in balance with nature.