If you have a fish pond on your property, maintaining it and keeping it healthy should be a priority, especially for the fish, flora, and fauna that are in it. The entire ecosystem relies on you to maintain its beauty and functionality…and don’t forget about the fishing possibilities! If you are wondering how to have the healthiest fish pond possible, you must do the following three tasks.
- Most importantly, you will need to aerate your pond. This is accomplished by installing an appropriate aeration system that will work on keeping the pond clean, crystal clear, and balanced all year long. Aerators can come in the form of waterfalls, floating fountains, and lake bed aerators…anything that will keep the oxygen circulating throughout the water. It also aids in preventing any rotten organic material from becoming deadly, which can lead to losing fish and/or growth of algae. Algae only needs three things to grow: nutrients, sunlight, and warm water. This is why aeration is the most important during the summer months because of the warmer temperatures. Another good way to aerate the pond and remove the nutrients that can cause algae is to use such aquatic plants such as marsh hibiscus, water iris, cattails, water willow, bulrush, and water snowball. These floating plant
islands can phytofiltrate (natural plant filtration) the water to make it healthier and less desirable for algae to grow in. They are also beautiful and will provide a natural habitat for fish and other pond organisms.
- Remove all debris and dead vegetation from your pond on a regular basis, even if it means manually cleaning the pond with a pond rake. You may have to also treat your pond with natural bacteria to help break down any waste, manure, or dirt. Natural bacteria products can also help with the amount of algae and aquatic weeds as well as helping contain bad odors. Another important step is to keep all livestock away from your pond! The fecal matter of cows, horses, etc. can easily contaminate a pond and any large animals will certainly damage the banks to your pond.
- Regularly check your pond’s pH levels. Annually and/or seasonally is best, especially if you see any dead fish, green slime, or murky or muddy water. The best pH level for fish is between 6.5 and 9.5 (add limestone chips to raise the pH; sprinkle calcium carbonate to reduce it). When the acidity and the alkalinity of the water is balanced, all of your aquatic life and plants will be thriving. If you see a lot of dead fish, definitely test the pH before you do anything else. Another common culprit of fish kills is an excessive amount of vegetation on the surface of the water, particularly if it’s hot, cloudy, and calm outside. Extension experts agree that if your pond is more than half covered with vegetation and algae, you are risking a major fish kill.
If you are still in the planning stages of a fish pond for your property, the most essential part of a healthy aquatic environment is to have the most appropriate liner for your fish pond. Western Liner is one of the leading manufacturers of pond liners in the world. They have been providing large pond liners for more than 30 years and have created the Aqua Series, a collection of reinforced polyethylene products that are strong and specially formulated to last 20 or more years buried. These pond liners are exactly where you need to start on your journey to a healthy, thriving fish pond. We have a handy pond liner calculator you can use to determine how large of a pond liner to fit your needs.