Pond Owners Handbook
Food, Nutrients and Your Pond
We All Need Food!
All living things need a source of food (energy). This includes pond fish and plants, right down to our beneficial bacteria friends.
A balanced pond of clear healthy water occurs when all necessary elements of the ecosystem come together in the correct numbers and benefit from each other.
If certain elements are lacking the ecosystem will suffer and be less healthy. If some elements are over abundant, again this will cause the ecosystem to be adversely affected.
Minerals from rain water, tap water, fish waste, and uneaten fish foods are just a few of the contributors to a nutrient rich saturated pond that algae loves.
Water temperature plays a large part in how quickly some of these elements grow to achieve the correct numbers necessary for clear, healthy pond water. For every 10 degree rise in water temperature, beneficial bacteria (the garbage men of the pond) double in population. This means they also double in effectiveness to remove waste. This organic fertilizer is food that feeds all forms of algae.
Algae are simple plant forms and all pond plants respond well to increased temperatures and light. Tropical floating pond plants grow faster than hardy water plants. They will eventually spread along with water lily leaves to shade out the various forms of algae.
All pond plants help to feed on wild nutrients, but some are more efficient than others. One group called “Oxygenating Plants” are very important. Hornwort is one of the best at outcompeting algae. Always include hornwort for a clear healthy pond.
Each spring our ponds require the critical number of beneficial bacteria and plants. As we know this process can sometimes take months. We can expect algae will want to take advantage of our unbalanced pond.
Consider the following proven products to remove or prevent a “green attack”.
- Add organic barley pellets or liquid extract as a natural nontoxic algaecide.
- Use liquid pond shade as soon as possible to stop strong sunlight until plants can take over.
- Install an Ion Gen system. A tested method to remove and prevent all forms of algae.
- Monitor pond water temperature with a simple pond thermometer.
- Feed the pond with “Cold Water” beneficial bacteria when water temperature gets to 5’C (40‘F).
- Feed bog and marginal plants with pond plant pills, or once a year with time release pellets when water temperature gets to 7’C (45’F)
- Feed pond fish with high quality “Cold Water” fish food when water temperature gets to 10’C (50’F) It digests easily and leaves less waste. Don’t overfeed. Feed only in small amounts, making sure it is eaten. Remove remaining food after 5 minutes. Feeding at the warmest part of the day is best if possible; this is when fish are most interested.
Early spring is a good time to remove over populated fish as fish are still sluggish. (no more than one inch of fish per square foot of pond surface) Remember, too many fish produce too much waste (compost pile) that feeds algae!