When it comes to commercial fish farming, there are many aspects involved in the upkeep of the ponds. However, one primary concern for fish pond owners is the maintenance aspect. If you are a fish pond owner, you know how quickly your pond’s water quality can deteriorate.
Keeping your fish pond clean isn’t as hard as you might think. However, water quality is a vital aspect of the overall health of the pond’s fish occupants, and therefore you must strive to keep your pond as clean as possible. Here are a few simple tips that can help you keep your fish pond clean.
1. Manually Clean Your Fish Pond
A simple way to ensure a beautiful clean fish pond is to go out to your pond and clean it regularly. You will need to be vigilant if you plan on using this method. Visit your pond every few days to ensure that you remove surface detritus before it gets the chance to get waterlogged and sink to the bottom of the pond.
There are two primary aspects to focus on when employing this method. First, ensure that you remove any floating surface detritus. This detritus includes leaves, twigs, grass, seeds, and any other plant or animal waste floating on your fish pond’s surface. To clean your pond’s surface water, you can use a pond skimming net, a specifically designed long-handled net available at most garden stores.
You can also manually remove algae build-up from the surface and within the depths of your pond, using a long stick or a rake to remove it from the water or using a pond vacuum cleaner. With the pond vacuum cleaner, you can suck up sludge, leaves, unwanted algae, and other detritus from the bottom of your pond. One aspect to remember here is not to remove all algae, as some of it is beneficial to your fish pond’s ecosystem.
2. Regulate The Number Of Fish In Your Pond
Another important tip for keeping your fish pond clean is to ensure that you do not allow your pond to become overpopulated. You should have less than 10 inches of fish to every 100 gallons of water. If you have more than that, you know that your pond is overpopulated, and it would be good to rehome some of your fish.
When a fish pond is overpopulated, you will find that the levels of excrement start to have an adverse side effect on your pond water’s cleanliness. The only way to combat this problem is to reduce your fish population.
More fish waste will also increase ammonia levels in the water, detrimental to your fish’s health. If you notice that your fish are lethargic and are gasping at the water’s surface, you might have an excess of ammonia in your water. In this case, you should immediately test the water and implement rectifying solutions if you find that the ammonia levels are too high.
3. Feed Your Fish Appropriately
Ensuring that you feed your fish appropriately is twofold. Firstly, you should provide your fish with a decently high-quality fish feed. High-quality food will ensure that your fish digest their food adequately, producing less fish waste. Secondly, you should avoid overfeeding your fish, which would result in them producing higher amounts of excrement while also leaving excess food floating in the water.
When you provide your fish with too much food, there will often be leftover food. This leftover food will remain in your pond, where it will start to decay. The decaying food will promote algae growth and dirty your pond’s water. The best way to ensure that you do not overfeed your fish is only to provide enough food for them to feed for five minutes.
Remember to reduce the amount of food you give your fish during the colder months when their digestive systems have begun to slow down. If you notice that there is still food remaining on the surface, adjust the amount you feed your fish the next time. You can also remove excess food so that it doesn’t stay in the water.
Another suggestion would be to feed your fish a floating food instead of one that sinks to the bottom of your pond, getting lost in crevices where it will eventually start to rot.
4. Promote Healthy Plant Growth In Your Pond
Pond plants are an excellent addition to any fish pond. They increase the aesthetic value of your pond, and they are also beneficial to keeping your fish pond clean. When it comes to pond plants, you are spoiled for choice, and having a healthy balance between submerged and floating plants will be great for your pond.
Floating plants, including water lilies and lotus plants, reduce the available surface area of your pond. This reduced surface area will lessen the amount of sun that can penetrate your pond’s water and thus will reduce algae growth. As the plants use up nutrients in the water, this will also decrease the nutrients available for the algae to consume.
Submerged plants will increase the oxygen levels in your water, reducing algal growth in your fish pond. You can keep these plants submerged by attaching them to rocks under the surface or planting them in plant pots and putting the containers on the bottom of the pond.
One aspect to consider when deciding on which plants to go for and how many you plan on having is that you don’t want to overdo it. If you have an excess of plants, it can also have adverse side effects for your pond. Too many plants can decrease the oxygen levels in your pond as plants absorb oxygen at night during the photosynthesis process. This oxygen reduction can have adverse side effects for your fish.
5. Use Barley Straw To Decrease Algal Growth
Who would have thought that barley straw could benefit a fish pond? As barley starts to decompose, it releases a chemical compound that reduces algal growth. This exceptional preventative measure is entirely natural and will not harm your fish or pollute your pond.
The best way to utilize this fantastic algal reduction feat would be to place your barley straw bale in the pond at the beginning of spring. This way, the barley straw will have started to decompose nicely when the water has heated up enough to promote algal growth.
Your pond’s size will depend on how much barley you need. The typical formula is one bale of barley straw to 1000 gallons of water. You can also use liquid barley straw if you would prefer. Here you will typically need one tablespoon per 50 gallons. This method is not a great option if you deal with large fish ponds.
6. Use A Proper Filtration System
A proven method of keeping a fish pond clean is to install a sound water filtration system. This way, you know that the water in your pond is being treated and filtered every day to promote a clean and healthy pond environment.
Filtration systems work two-fold. Firstly, the mechanical filter works by removing the surface debris from your pond. Secondly, the biological filter uses beneficial bacteria to help break down the waste in your pond into less harmful compounds, which your aquatic plants then absorb.
The water in your fish pond will first filter through your mechanical filtration, into your biological filtration, and then back into your pond.
A perfect filtration system will filter the water in your pond once every two hours. It will always help if you select a filtration system that says it can filter twice the amount of water in your pond. This way, you will know that your filtration system can handle the volume of your pond.
If you get a system that says it can only handle the same volume of water in your pond, you will find that it will ultimately struggle with keeping your pond clean.
7. Properly Maintain Your Filters
If you would like to rely on your filtration system doing a proper job to keep your fish pond nice and clean, then you must do your part to ensure that this happens. Doing your part entails regular cleaning out the various filters present in your filtration system.
This cleaning usually involves the removal of the filter and spraying it down with a hose. Try to clean your filters once a week if possible.
Ensure that you have read your filtration systems user manual before cleaning to know you are doing the job appropriately and adequately.
Leaving your filters for extended periods without cleaning them will result in them not working to their full potential, and ultimately your pond will suffer, becoming dirty as a result.
8. Install A Water Feature In Your Pond
Fountains and waterfalls are wonderfully pleasing to the eye, but they provide much more for your fish pond and your fish. Installing a water feature to promote cleanliness in your fish pond is a great excuse to add this aesthetically pleasing touch. In addition, the constant turning and aeration of your fish ponds water reduce the chance of algal and grime build-up while at the same time aerating the water, which is great for your fish.
9. Regularly Maintain The Growth Of The Surrounding Plants
If you want to keep your fish pond clean, you will need to expand your maintenance to the surrounding plant life. Ensure that you regularly manage the trees, hedges, and other plants immediately around your fish pond. Clean up fallen leaves that might blow into the pond, and prune overhanging branches to reduce twigs and leaves falling into the pond.
When it comes to pruning the overhanging trees, you should try to maintain a balance. For example, too much sunlight into the pond will promote algal growth in the water, and too little sunlight won’t be enough for your aquatic plants to photosynthesize properly.
Another method you could think about employing would be to place netting over the pond. The net would catch any plant matter that might have fallen into the pond. This option is only worthwhile if your pond is of an appropriate size.
10. Conduct Regular Maintenance Checks On Your Fish Pond
A well-maintained fish pond makes keeping your pond clean all the easier. Ensure that the water in your fish pond remains at a proper level during the height of summer. High temperatures result in more evaporation.
Conduct regular checks for leaks as these result in the loss of water, which can negatively affect your aquatic plants and your fish. In addition, keep your eye out for any other structural damages that might adversely affect the cleanliness of your pond.
Maintain the edges of your pond. Ensure that there is no place where run-off, in the form of sand, silt, mud, or chemical substances, can enter your pond. Any form of run-off that lands in your pond will cause it to get dirty, so you should try to avoid this situation as much as possible.
11. Make Use Of Chemical Water Treatments
If your pond looks rather unpleasant and you are worried about algal growth, you can use water treatment to remove or block algae growth in your fish pond. One thing to remember when using any chemical treatment is that you should always ensure that it is safe for your fish before using it.
In most cases, these treatments are safe for your fish as long as you follow the usage instructions carefully. However, if you decide on taking this route, you can reapply the treatment when you notice that your water is turning green or there is an excess of algae in your fish pond.
12. Use Calcium Sulfate To Break Up Pond Sludge
Calcium sulfate, which you might know as gypsum, is an excellent option to break up some of the excess sludge that can accumulate at the bottom of your fish pond. This product is safe to use in your fish pond as it is not harmful to either your fish or your aquatic plants.
You can purchase this product from most garden stores. You will need to sprinkle the calcium sulfate evenly across your pond using the formula of 525 pounds per acre-foot of water.
13. Deep Clean Your Fish Pond
Every year or two, you should give your entire fish pond an excellent clean if this is possible. You can remove ¾ of your pond’s water to access the bottom of the pond with a pond vacuum to remove the sludge build-up that you can commonly find there.
After removing the water, you can use a spray nozzle to spray down your rocks, water features, and pond walls. After you have given the bottom of your pond a good clean, you can refill it with nice fresh water.
A deep cleanse is always beneficial as it helps maintain overall pond cleanliness for the upcoming months. In addition, it enables you to remove the build-up of detritus, sludge, and algae that you might not have been able to get to with the other cleaning tips previously discussed.
When it comes to keeping your fish pond clean, there are several methods you could deploy. Most of them require dedication and a willingness to do the work and put in the time to ensure that your fish pond remains clean and healthy enough for your fish’s optimum growth. Of course, some will require more dedication than others, but they will all help keep your fish pond clean.