Thursday, August 29, 2013

Water Garden Hints

I waited a long time to get a pond in the backyard. Finally in 2005 I helped my husband install a 250-gallon preformed pond. Almost immediately we thought it should have been bigger. So keep that in mind if or when you install a pond. We struggled the first year with algae. After some research we found that small ponds like ours tend to have that problem. So after trying several unsuccessful ideas including barley straw, aquatic plants and coloring the water using a dye made for treating pond water. We finally invested in a UV Filter. Most of the time the UV filter handles the algae problem, but on occasion after a heavy rain I will use a safe for plant and fish algae relief you can find a your local hardware or home improvement stores.

This year though I’ve had problems getting my water lilies to grow. I finally realized the problem was they were not getting enough light. I’m not sure how I will solve that problem but have all winter to figure it out. With fewer plants I worried about the fish eating birds spotting my 7 goldfish and did my best to provide some cover around the edges of the pond with other plants and in the center of the pond by replaced some of the PVC pipes back into the pond. (I had removed them when a Snowy Egret ate our last fish.) So far the fish have survived the summer with no going missing.

With the rainy summer I found I had to clean the ponds filter a lot more often than previous summers. Run off from the yard found its way into the pond. I thought it would be nice to have an extra filter & pump unit that I could exchange with the dirty one. So my husband surprised me with a new set-up so I can do just that. Now I can clean the dirty filter inside in the utility sink or outside in a shady, cooler spot.

Here are some tips for algae control. It may take several of these or all to control algae in a small pond:
1. Plan the location of your pond to take advantage of shady areas in your yard. Be careful not to locate your pond under a tree, however, as trees can drop leaves and sap that can play havoc with your pond water.
2. Construct or retrofit your pond so that water from your yard cannot flow into it.
3. Install a fine bubble aerator. The main cause of algae bloom is the lack of water movement. Placed at the deepest section of the pond and aerate the pond 24/7, you create a natural water movement in the pond,
4. Use water plants to help keep sunlight off of the water surface. Pickerelweed, Water Lilies, and Lotus are all good choices.
5. Include submersible plants such as Elodea that uses the nutrients that algae need to grow.
6. Introduce aquatic pond snails to your pond. Pond snails dine on the algae in your pond.
7. Add tadpoles to your pond. Tadpoles not only eat algae but also eat mosquito and other insect larvae.
8. Feed your fish only as much food as can be eaten within about five minutes. Food not eaten will decay and contribute to algae growth.
9. Clean the filters in your filtration system regularly. Clogged filters can dill beneficial bacteria and allow algae to flourish.
10. Use an ultraviolet light sterilizer. These sterilizers break down the cell walls of the algae, killing it.
11. Clean the surface of your pond with a skimmer or algae net.
12. Vacuum the algae from the pond with a pond vacuum.
13. Place barley straw in a location that provides a good flow of water and sunlight. The barley straw will decompose adding hydrogen peroxide to the water, killing the algae.
14. Color the water using a dye made specifically for treating pond water. The dye will color the water making it dark and harder for sunlight to penetrate to the depths of your pond.


  1. What a really great blog. Your posts are so informative. I think I just found my new backyard ponds with your ideas.

    Fix Pond and Fountain leaks

  2. Those are very practical tips, Laura! I guess the only thing I can add here is to maintain the water circulation, as algae thrives on ponds in stagnant condition, not to mention mosquitos. You can do so by choosing certain types of rocks and stones that will moderate the alkalinity of the water. But of course, the main key here is to keep the pond shaded and cool to keep it from growing and photosynthesizing too fast. Thanks for sharing, and have a nice day!

    Gwendolyn Reyes @ Tapestry, NJ

  3. Do you have boulders? And how do you clean them? I have great oase vacuum cleaner, it does good with goo and such, but cleaning boulders is just a disaster >_< And thanks god i have no fish...