Keeping a Clean Pond

Most water gardeners are aware of the importance that good quality water plays in a pond habitat.  Not knowing how to get or keep high water quality can prove challenging to some pond owners.  Follow our 7 tips below to help keep your pond water clean!

1. Maintain a healthy fish population

If you have more than 10” of fish for every 100 gallons of water, your pond is likely over-populated. Excessive fish waste can cause an imbalance in pond water. Consider finding some of them a new home.  To calculate how many gallons are in your pond multiply length x width x height x 7.48.

2. Don’t over-feed your fish

One of the common things we run into with fish is overfeeding.  When you feed fish more than they can eat, the uneaten food is left to decay in the pond. Be careful not to feed your fish more than once per day, and no more than they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes. Remove all excess, leftover food.  Also remember that at different times of the year fish will eat different amounts.  In the spring and fall they will eat less food because they are less active than in the summer, so be sure to adjust the amount you are feeding them.

3. Create a proper balance of plants

Plants are an excellent way to keep water clean and maintain your ponds balance.  They use considerable amounts of phosphorous and nitrogen found in the water which keeps it from being available to algae.  They will also provide shade and cover which prevents algae growth. However, at season’s peak, you should have no more than 40% to 60% of the surface area of your pond either covered or shaded by 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.


4. Choose the right size pump for your pond

You should be circulating the entire pond’s water volume a minimum of once every hour.  Make sure your pump’s flow isn’t restricted by debris and be careful not to pump water higher than it was intended. Every pump has its flow limitations. Refer to the chart on the outside of the pump’s box to make sure you’re making the right choice for your pond, and if you are unsure ask us for guidance, we are always happy to help.


5. Clean debris from pond before it has a chance to decay

This is especially important in the spring, decaying debris, combined with fish waste and leftover fish food, can cause ammonia levels to spike in your pond. Remove debris from your pond and add beneficial microbes such as Biocuda Beneficial Bacteria to help keep it healthy and clean.  These microbes will convert ammonia from decaying material and fish waste into usable nitrogen for the plants.  It is usually unnecessary to completely drain and clean your pond every year and is typically more harmful to the balance of the pond.  When you ‘deep clean’ like this you are removing many of the microbes that are helping to keep your pond balanced and healthy.  If there is a lot of buildup on your rocks or debris that you cannot clean out you can use a pond cleaner.  We recommend Eco-Clean Oxy Pond Cleaner as it is not harmful to fish or other living creatures in and around your pond.

6. Choose proper filtration for your pond

Your filter should match the size of your pond. Remember, most manufacturers rate their filters based on ideal circumstances, and if you exceed those, your filter becomes less effective. Always up-size your filter so that it can handle more than the capacity of your pond. Also remember to clean your filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


7. Keeping your pond cool during the dog days of summer

When pond water exceeds 75º Fahrenheit, it has a more difficult time retaining acceptable levels of dissolved oxygen. This is why it’s important to have your pond shaded by aquatic plants (see tip #3). Fish need oxygen to survive. If you see them at the pond’s surface gasping for air, add an aerator to help them during times of extreme heat.  Oftentimes algae growth will increase with the warm temperatures and it’s necessary to use an algaecide.  We always recommend removing as much of the algae as you can before treatment so less product is required.  Algaecides will use up available oxygen so either add an aerator or make sure that you don’t add more than the recommended amount to protect your fish and other wildlife using your pond.


It’s quite often that we have customers come in with questions about keeping their water clean and clear.  Follow these steps above and you will have a beautiful pond all season. If you want to learn more about your pond or water feature and how to maintain them visit the Atlantic Water Gardens website.  They have some excellent tips and information about all of the aspects of your water feature.

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