Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Keeping the Balance of Nature: Pond Water Maintenance

By Brett Fogle
You might be tempted to let Mother Nature, tend to your backyardpond, and who could blame you? After all, she does a pretty goodjob of taking care of really big ponds, so why would yourbackyard ecosystem pose much of a challenge to her?
Unfortunately, the fact is your backyard pond is only going toget some cursory attention from Mom; the rest of the work isgoing to be left up to you.
In the "real world" chlorinated water doesn't find its way intoponds very often. "Big" pond water passes through a great manynatural filtration and oxygenation systems, and the various fishand flora work together to keep the pond clean and fresh. Ourbackyard ponds don't have quite that much help, so here's whereyou need to step in:
If you are going to keep fish then you absolutely must remove alltraces of chlorine from your pond before your favorite Koi set uphousekeeping. Pond fish cannot live in chlorinated water so don'teven try. There are many products available to remove chlorinequickly, or you can opt for the old-fashioned, natural way if youhave the time to spend.
If you opt for 'a la natural' then expect to wait about 8 to 10days for the chlorine to dissipate. You will need to make surethat your pump and filter are running and that you have set up anaerating method such as a waterfall or "splasher" to bring oxygeninto the water. Make sure that the pond is exposed to plenty ofsunlight (the natural enemy of chlorine), and use a chlorinetesting kit to check the water daily.
Me? I just drop some de-chlorinating product into the pond andcheck back the next day.
Even if chlorine is totally removed, you still have nitrite andammonia to worry about. These two toxic buddies are byproducts offish waste and can wreak havoc with your Koi's health. After awhile Mother Nature will kick in some help by allowing beneficialbacteria colonies to develop that enjoy eating nitrite andammonia for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They won't be present innew ponds, however, unless you buy some bacteria starter kits tokick start the process.
Your garden pond could become overtaxed, ecologically, if you addtoo many fish too quickly. Start out adding no more than two perweek so that the newly introduced bacteria do not get overwhelmedby the waste that will be produced.
Just when you think you've got it all under control that uglything called "pH" raises its head. Testing for pH levels is alsovery important since neither plants nor fish will survive verylong if the pond's pH is out of whack. Your pH test kit shouldshow a reading of between 6.8 and 7.4. You can add the properchemicals to raise or lower if as neccessary.
Speaking of test kits, get one that will allow you to test thepond's salt levels as well. Unless you're raising baby Sea bass,too much salt is not a good thing.
After your pond is fully established, Mother Nature will lend abigger hand and you can settle into a routine of testing everythree of four weeks unless something serious, such as flooding,has occurred in between.
Brett Fogle is the owner of MacArthur Water Gardens and several
other pond-related websites includingMacArthurWatergardens.com
and Pond-Filters-Online.com. He also publishes a free monthlynewsletter called PondStuff! with a reader circulation of over9,000. To sign up for the free newsletter and receive our FREE'New Pond Owners Guide' visit MacArthur Water Gardens today!
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brett_Fogle

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