6 Tips to Achieving Clean Pond Water

Ponds can make beautiful additions to residential backyards, community gardens, and other public spaces. Despite being man-made, many ponds exude the same tranquility as natural water sources and are a wonderful addition to your space.

A backyard pond can level up the look of your property, as long as it's properly maintained. Without adequate TLC, your pond may accumulate unsightly algae and other slimy gunk, which may pose a risk to the fish that call your pond home.

So, how can you achieve clear clean pond water? In this article, we’ll outline six simple steps for maintaining crystal-clear pond water.

Fountain in Pond - 6 Tips to Keep Pond Water Clean

Step #1: Don’t Overfeed Your Fish

From goldfish to koi, fish can make your backyard pond that much more exciting. These eye-catching critters can wow your visitors and quickly become beloved pets.

While you’ll want to take exceptional care of your fish, that shouldn’t include overserving them—excess food can build up at the bottom of your pond. Over time, this food can rot, turn into icky sludge, and generate harmful ammonia.

To avoid this issue and to achieve clean pond water, you should only feed your fish an amount they can gobble up within three minutes or so. If putting your fish on a restricted diet makes you nervous, you can relax knowing that they won’t go hungry—pond fish can snack on algae and insect larvae if their appetite isn’t fully satisfied.

Step #2 Optimize Your Fish Population Size

Next, it’s important to make sure your family of fish is suitably sized for your pond’s capacity. As a general rule, you should never have more than ten inches of fish for every 100 gallons of water.

When you conduct your fish capacity calculations, keep in mind that some of your fish may still be growing. In turn, you’ll want to use their estimated adult measurements instead of their current ones.

Capping your fish capacity can be challenging at times. You may have to fight against urges to purchase new fish every time you visit the pet store. However, this restraint is crucial. Overpopulated ponds can lead to a slew of problems, such as:

  • Poor fish health – Your fish won’t be able to thrive if they have to fight each other for space and nutrients. Overcrowding may make them more vulnerable to injury and illness as well. It can also increase your pond’s ammonia levels. In worst-case scenarios, elevated levels of ammonia can even cause some fish to die.

  • Poor water clarity – Overcrowded ponds are also breeding grounds for algae. The reason? Fish waste can be used as fertilizer for algae. While your filtration system should get rid of a reasonable amount of this algae, it will have to work overtime if you have too many fish fertilizing this pond pollutant.

If you suspect that your pond’s murkiness is due to overpopulation, you may have to re-home some of your fish. Luckily, many pet stores will be more than happy to take your fish off your hands.

Step #3: Discard Debris Before It Decays

Outdoor ponds can make it challenging to keep pond water clean having various forms of debris falling into it from time to time. 

Some common examples of pond debris include:

  • Leaves
  • Flower petals
  • Feathers
  • Mulch
  • Lawn clippings
  • Soil
  • Pollen
  • Tree sap

If you don’t get rid of this debris promptly, it can break down and transform into sludge. Pond sludge allows bad bacteria to grow and produce hydrogen sulfide, a compound that smells like rotten eggs.

Not only can this compound’s foul smell derail your pursuit of creating a soothing environment, but it can also be toxic to your fish and contribute to the development of algae blooms.

You can catch and remove debris before it descends to the depths of your pond using a skimming device or pond net. You may also want to check and see if your sprinklers or storm drains are funneling any debris into your pond. If they are, you can contour the edges of your pond to keep out their water runoff.

Step #4: Decorate Your Pond With Plants

Plants and ponds are a perfect pair for many reasons: Firstly, they look lovely together. But even more importantly, plants can naturally control your pond’s nitrate levels.

When nitrates accumulate in your pond, it may develop a green tint and experience algae blooms. These elevated nitrates can pose health risks to your fish. Fortunately, pond plants can eat up excess nitrates. Different types of plants consume different types of nitrates, so including a variety of plants can help you cover your bases.

Another benefit of having plants around your pond is that they can provide shade. During the warmer seasons, this shade is invaluable. It can keep your pond’s temperatures low enough to maintain its dissolved oxygen levels, enabling your fish to get enough oxygen without the assistance of an aerator.

Step #5: Select The Right Pump

One way to keep pond water clean, is to avoid stagnant water. Stagnant water is a notorious breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and diseases. It’s also a magnet for mosquitoes. These pesky bugs are the last thing you want to deal with when you step outside to enjoy your personal outdoor oasis. Thus, it’s essential to keep your pond water moving at all times. You can do so using a simple water pump. All of your pond’s water should move through this pump at least once an hour.

At Solariver, our solar-powered pumps can push your pond water through your filtration system and keep it looking clean and clear. Even on overcast days, our solar water pumps can circulate your pond water like clockwork. They operate off-the-grid, so you won’t need to hire an electrician to install them or add to your electricity bill.

If you need help selecting the right pump for your pond, just take this quick quiz.

Step #6: Fortify Your Filtration

Your pond’s filtration system plays a vital role in keeping its water clean. There are three different types of filtration systems that can help keep your pond water clean, choose from:

  1. Mechanical filters – Skimmers are a type of mechanical filter that capture large debris, like leaves or sticks, so you can remove them manually.

  2. Chemical filters – Chemical filters, such as activated carbon or zeolite, can neutralize harmful toxins that are too small for mechanical removal.

  3. Biological filters – Biological filters eliminate toxic ammonia and nitrates by transforming them into less harmful nitrates. Some biological filters also foster the growth of good bacteria.

You can preserve the clarity and health of your pond water using one of these filters, or preferably, a combination.

Like pond pumps, pond filters can come in different sizes. Thus, you’ll want to select a filter that can competently handle your pond’s volume. If you want to be on the safe side, opt for a pond filter that’s slightly larger than you need.

Perfect Your Pond Setup With a Solariver Pond Pump

As you can see, keeping your pond water pristine is possible. You just need to follow these six steps.

If you want to upgrade your pond’s water pump, Solariver has you covered. Our solar water pumps can make your outdoor pond more sustainable and cost-effective without sacrificing its water circulation.

Find more tips and inspiration on the Solariver blog. 

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