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& BALANCING THE WATER GARDEN
Water garden balancing
involves planting, stocking and maintaining your pond in proportions
that ecologically support one another and help control algae growth
(Note: some algae is desirable). Although each pond differs, here
are some general guidelines to help you get started--or back on track!
IT ALL TOGETHER
a healthy ecosystem by following these easy steps:
Use dechlorinator. New
ponds - treat the entire volume of water in your pond.
Thereafter, dechlorinate for the amount of new water each time you
City water sources in Lawrence, Topeka,
Kansas City and many other area cities are treated
with chloramines. Unlike chlorine, chloramines do not dissipate for
up to 90 days. Our tap water is TOXIC
to fish and other aquatic organisms. Treat all tap
water to neutralize chlorine, chloramines and ammonia to protect fish
and other pond life.
Test and adjust the KH and pH
- this provides a healthy environment for plants and fish
and other new inhabitants in your pond. Our tap water tends to run
very low in KH (carbonate hardness) and high in pH (alkaline). Periodic
tests and treatments for these two influential parameters can expedite
balancing and aid on-going pond maintenance.
Once the water is ready, you can begin
to add life to the pond.
- Add plants. Use our stocking guidelines.
Plants are your #1 filter! They
shade the pond and compete with the algae for the nutrients in your
- Add beneficial bacteria. Treat the
entire volume of the pond. Beneficial
bacteria breaks down pond debris and reduces green water. Dose weekly
for best results.
- Add fish. Use our stocking recommendations.
Fish eat pests and circulate
the water. Choose fish who live harmoniously with the plants!
Each of the above steps serves an important
purpose and builds upon the previous ones to achieve a balanced water
Green water normally appears in all
ponds during the early spring before other plants
have had a chance to grow and compete. This also happens in recently
cleaned or new ponds, using tap water rich in mineral salts. This
is a natural, healthy process. DO NOT
flush and refill your pond, or the curing process will have to start
all over again. DO add
beneficial bacteria to reduce the green water period and to speed
up balancing . . . or simply BE PATIENT.
plants, including algae, are beneficial in the garden pond. They all
absorb nutrients, convert them to new plant tissue, and give off oxygen
as a by-product. This is known as photosynthesis. A “patina”
of good algae must develop on the sides of the pond before it can
fully balance. It helps to reduce green water algae, provides oxygen
for your fish and also provides a home to many microscopic organisms
that play a role in keeping a healthy ecosystem. Chemically killing
algae removes the visual problem, but it does not address the cause
of excess algae. A balanced water garden contains relatively clear
water, yet allows some algae to exist for the benefit of these other
pond inhabitants. In a healthy pond, you can see your hand (or fish)
about 12" below the water surface. Anything below the 12"
mark may not be clearly visible.
PLANTING AND STOCKING GUIDELINES
the table below to calculate the capacity and surface area of your
First: Calculate the volume of water
in your pond. This allows you to use water treatment products with
accuracy for best results - No more guesswork!
Second: Calculate the surface area
of your pond. This allows you to stock your pond with plants and fish
for the best balance. It also makes it easier to “check-in”
every few years to re-establish that balance.
Plant to achieve 50-75% coverage of
your pond surface. More coverage is needed in sunny areas and less
in the shade -- More for small ponds and less for ponds with over
Lily-Like Aquatics, and Floating Plants: These plants
shade the pond, keep the water cooler and prevent algae photosynthesis.
Waterlily plant sizes vary, so check our lily chart.
Submerged Aquatics: These underwater
grasses compete with algae for CO2
and dissolved nutrients. They also serve as a spawning bed to receive
fish eggs and provide protection for small fry. We
recommend one bunch of submerged aquatics for every
1-2 square feet of pond surface.
These finned friends eat pests such as mosquito larvae, aphids and
other insects. They also consume algae as a routine part of their
diet. The common American Goldfish, Comet and Shubunkin are excellent,
practical choices for ponds in this area. Another popular choice is
Koi. Those who opt for koi should plan to include a pump and bio-filter
for their pond, and plan to protect their plants from these more aggressive
a Low Maintenance Water Garden, Keep less than 1” of fish
per square foot of pond surface.
freshwater clams, and/or other scavengers: Touted for their
role in helping keep ponds clean, these bottom dwellers are also known
to be alternate hosts to parasites harmful to fish.
NOT add scavengers. Instead,
DO dose beneficial bacteria regularly
during the growing season to reduce green water and break
down pond debris.
NOTE: Adding a
will improve water quality and allow for greater stocking density. If you
are considering koi, filtration is a must!
(use AVERAGE dimensions in feet, not inches)
Length x Width
x Depth x 7.5
Length x Width
x Depth x 6.7
Diam. x Diam.
x Depth x 5.9
Sq Ft of Surface Area
Length x 1/2 Width)
Diam. x 1/2 Diam.)
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