Learn more about water gardens and ecosystem ponds
Tags:How to perform general pond maintenance,aquascape,backyard,ecosystem,garden,gardens,landscaping,pond,ponds
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The key to a low-maintenance water garden is to keep your new ecosystem in balance. The chemical skimmer filter on the left of this diagram holds your pump and skims a surface of degree. The pump then transfers the water through a flexible PVC pipe to the Biofalls biological filter on the right.
With the help of beneficial bacteria, the Biofalls will clean the water and return it to the pond via the waterfall. The plants and fish work together to control excessive algae blooms and the gravel unlike a smooth pan liner, provides the surface area for the beneficial bacteria to break down organic waste on the pond floor.
These elements work together like a team to make up your ecosystem and they must all be present in order for the system to work. Understand that a new pond could take up to 8 to 10 weeks to find that proper balance. So, be patient if your water quality suffers during transition. Virtually, all ponds contain bacteria, but this will happen overtime.
To start your system on the right foot, add the recommended dosage of beneficial bacteria. The beneficial bacteria will seed within your Biofalls as well as within the rocks and gravel on the pond floor, and help convert excess waste and nutrients found in the pond into a food source that can be readily use by aquatic plants.
Continue to add the bacteria regularly throughout the season as a general maintenance. The skimmer filter sweeps the surface of the water, so it's free from debris. The basket inside the skimmer will collect the leaves, twigs and other debris pulled in.
It takes approximately two to three minutes every other week to empty the debris basket. The skimmer filter mat is designed to remove the fine debris that makes its way pass the debris basket. The filter mat does not require regular maintenance, but it may need an occasional rinsing.
Maintaining the proper water level in your pond is critical for the system to function properly. Unfortunately, there are too many factors to calculate an exact evaporation rate. On average throughout the year, most pond owners will experience between one to one-and-a-half inches a week for the average-size ponds. Some zones experience in excess of three inches a week in the depth of summer.
Automatic waterfall valves are available for your convenience or simply use your garden hose to tap up your pond once a week.
Fish are an integral part of a well-balanced ecosystem. And contrary to popular belief, they'll actually reduce the maintenance involved in pond care. Feeding the fish is a favorite pastime for the whole family. A handful of premium fish food once a day is plenty.
Understand that overfeeding the fish can result in excessive algae blooms. If this occurs, cut back on feeding the fish until you regain control of your water quality. Even though your fish continue to back for food, rest assured that the system will provide for them.
Note that the fish should not be fed once the water temperature is dropped consistently below 55 degrees. Their bodies become dormant and cannot break down the solid food.
Organic debris is a natural part of any healthy ecosystem and should be expectant. However, we do hope to control any excessive debris that may plague our ponds. EcoSystems, EcoBlast and S.A.B. can be applied to your stream and pond to help with unsightly blooms. Just follow the directions on the labels and you'll have the debris under control in no time.
Remember that your pond will have seasonal blooms in the winter and spring.
Water lilies are often the most beautiful plants found within our pond. Like any plants, they can always use a little fertilizer to help it fully bloom. EcoSystems EcoTabs are available for just that purpose. Simply place one or two fertilizer tabs directly into the lily's aquatic soil. Within days, you should see a noticeable difference in your plant's appearance.
Water hyacinth is a floating tropical plant used by many pond owners around the country, often used to help disguise the Biofalls. Water hyacinths are extremely invasive and may need to be trimmed back a couple of times throughout the season.
Dividing other aquatic plants throughout the pond will keep your water garden looking sharp. The plants will completely take over if you left them. So be sure to cut them back annually.