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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
Establish a healthy ecosystem by
following these easy steps:
New ponds - treat the entire volume of water in your pond.
Thereafter, dechlorinate for the amount of new water each
time you add water.
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
shade the pond and compete with the algae for the nutrients
in your pond.
- Add beneficial bacteria.
Treat the entire volume of the pond.
bacteria breaks down pond debris and reduces green water.
for best results.
- Add fish. Use our stocking
recommendations. Fish eat pests and
the water. Choose fish who live harmoniously with the
Each of the above steps serves
an important purpose and builds upon the previous ones
to achieve a balanced water garden.
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
green 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
Use the table below to calculate the
capacity and surface area of your pond:
First: Calculate the
volume of water in your pond. This allows you to use water
treatment products with accuracy for best results - No
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 1,000 gallons.
Waterlilies, 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
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.
Fish: 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 pond fish.
For a Low Maintenance Water Garden, Keep
less than 1” of fish per square foot of
Snails, 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.
Adding a filter
system 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)
x Width x Depth x 7.5
x Width x Depth x 6.7
x Diam. x Depth x 5.9
Sq Ft of Surface Area
(1/2 Length x 1/2 Width)
(1/2 Diam. x 1/2 Diam.)
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