Ponds often look like a part of the landscape that can take care of themselves, but in reality they require routine maintenance to keep them as healthy as possible. Ponds that are not well cared for tend to have overgrown plant life, and cannot always support diverse fish populations. Here are three best practices for optimum pond management.
Control Plant Life
All ponds require plant life to help create a balanced ecosystem, and to make them more aesthetically pleasing for the people who enjoy them. But an overgrowth of plants can interfere with animal life in the pond by altering oxygen and pH levels of the water. You can use herbicides to control plant growth in your pond. There are chemical products available that are effective and safe for wildlife. You can also manually remove excess plant life from your pond with rakes and shovels, though this quickly becomes an enormous task for all but the smallest of ponds. Another option for plant control is to introduce fish species, such as grass carp, that feed on aquatic plants and keep their numbers in check.
Monitor Water Level
During a period of drought, the water level in your pond may drop below sustainable levels. The plants and fish in your pond require a certain minimum pond volume to survive. Low water levels also result in overall higher water temperatures, which can be detrimental to fish. If water levels begin to drop, you can first work to reduce the fish population by harvesting more fish, particularly the larger ones. For an extended or severe drought, you may need to consider adding water to your pond to keep the water level sufficiently high.
Test Water pH
pH is the measure of how acidic or basic your pond water is. Lower numbers are more acidic. Pond water should generally be kept in a pH range of 7 to 8.5 to best support the plants and animals that live in it. Regularly test the pH of your pond. Limestone can be added to the water if the pH is too low. If you need to reduce pH, calcium carbonate can help. In both cases, proper management of the pond ecosystem can help maintain safe pH levels without the use of additional chemicals.
Ponds can add a lot of value to your property, and bring enjoyment to your family and others. They do require some routine maintenance to keep them healthy and clean.