The water clarity in your pond will depend largely on how well you can keep the ecosystem in balance. Submerged plants are called “oxygenators” because they produce oxygen, beneficial to your pond’s health and vitality. They also help condition the water by absorbing nutrients that if allowed to build up, will unbalance the pond and become toxic to the fish. Water lilies and other ﬂoating plants not only provide shade, they also cool the water making algae control easier.
Balancing your pond
Beneﬁcial pond bacteria purify the water and break down organic waste - by adding beneficial bacteria on a regular, consistent basis you can maintain the necessary balance in your pond. Beneficial bacteria are dual acting: they ingest organic debris on the bottom of the pond and particles suspended in the water, and they break down ammonia into nitrite, and then into nitrate, which is harmless for ﬁsh and useful for plants. Biological filtration is the most effective way of removing toxins from pond water.
Beneficial bacteria for ponds are available at your Botanix retailer. Keep an eye out for frogs and dragonflies: they are a sure sign that your pond is healthy!
Although you shouldn't expect your pond to look like a swimming pool, the water should be relatively clear. If the water turns greenish in colour due to a build up of algae, you need to act quickly. If you have any problems with your pond, speak to a specialist at your local Botanix Center who will be more than happy to help you identify solutions.
Opening your pond
Central and Eastern Ontario:
In early spring, or towards the middle of March
- Introduce bacteria.
- Remove debris accumulated on the bottom.
- Start the pond, stream or waterfall pump as soon as the ice melts.
- Replace the peat moss or anti-algae bag. Both these natural products, available at your Botanix retailer, prevent algae proliferation.
In early May
- Replace any aquatic plants you may have removed.
- Pull the lotus plants back up to within 6 to 10 cm of the surface and prune dead stalks.
- When the water temperature rises above 8ºC, you can start feeding the ﬁsh.
Throughout the month of May
- Fertilize potted aquatic plants using tablets inserted at the base of the plant.
- Introduce annual aquatic plants.
- Use a floating ring to limit the spread of hyacinths and water lettuce.
During the summer
- Keep the water level relatively stable during the summer to ensure blooms on your water lilies.
- Remove dead leaves and other debris from the pond.
- Continue to add bacteria. It may be necessary to increase amounts during hot weather.
- Clean the pump ﬁlter on a regular basis.
Fish: silent but lively
Japanese carp and goldﬁsh will add colour and movement to your pond, but you'll have to be vigilant since they're very sensitive to water quality. They will enjoy the cooler water under the leaves of the water lilies.
Botanix carries fish food that ensures balanced nutrition for your fish.
Don't worry about your fish if you leave on vacation: ﬁsh can live very well on what they ﬁnd in the pond. In fact, if your pond is deeper than 90 cm, they can live there all winter too, in which case an air pump for aeration of the pond when temperatures turn colder and dip below freezing should be installed to run all winter.
To ensure the well-being of your fish, avoid overpopulating your pond. Use the following as a guide:
- One goldﬁsh per square meter of water surface. Be careful though, they reproduce quickly.
- One Japanese carp per 2.5 square meters of water surface.
- Fish must be introduced slowly so you don't disturb the equilibrium in your pond.
Closing your pond
In the fall:
- Install a net to collect falling leaves.
At the end of October:
- Prune the yellow foliage of aquatic plants and place hardy plants at the bottom of the deep end.
- Turn off the pump and automatic ﬁller valve.
- Stop feeding your ﬁsh when the water temperature dips below 8ºC.
- Install an air pump so your ﬁsh will stay healthy until spring.
Water features in a garden are like a magnet to people of all ages: the sound of running water has a calming effect on people, and ponds can be incredibly beautiful as well. Now that you've created a functioning ecosystem, be sure to take the time to sit down and enjoy it!