How do I keep my garden pond clean?

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How do I keep my garden pond clean?

Garden ponds can add a touch of magic and nature to any garden, so the last thing you want is for your lovely little pond to turn into something resembling spinach and pea soup. Of course, it is worth noting that most ‘natural’ water can often look pretty murky but the majority of us will want what is meant to be an attractive garden feature to look as clear and pristine as possible.

A pond filter is designed to keep the water healthy, with many filters having a built-in UVC (also known as Ultra Violet clarifiers) to clear any green water. Not every pond needs a filter – if you plan on only having plants in your pond you may not need one. However, if you have fish, filtration is essential; plus the more fish you have, the more filtration you’ll need to keep them and the water healthy.

A small pond needs to be completely emptied and cleaned every five years, whilst a larger pond needs a overhaul every decade.

The best time to clean a pond is in late autumn when the fish and any other creatures that rely on the pond to survive are less active. You will need a holding tank for any fish and deep water plants, before draining the pond by using a pump. Carefully remove fish and plants as the water level drops and they become visible.

Any decaying plant life should be placed on the side of the pond as there may be small creatures living in the plants that can then escape back into the pond.

Scoop up the silt, making sure you keep some to put back in the pond. The liner can then be cleaned before the saved silt and water is added. You can then return the plants and fish to the pond.

Please note that it may take months, if not years, for the delicate balance of your pond’s ecosystem to fully recover.

Algae becoming a problem?

Algae can colonise almost any watery habitat, from birdbaths to huge reservoirs. If left unchecked, it can harm fish and clog pond filters and pumps.

The best way to ward off the algae is to start treatment as early as you can. Think prevention rather than cure; ideally you want to start treatment before the problem arises.

For small ponds you can use:

  • Barley straw extract – a liquid treatment that needs to be applied every fortnight early in the season
  • Mini barley bales – a barley straw bag that will float in your pond and can keep algae at bay for up to six months
  • Submersible dispenser – submerge it in your pond and this dispenser uses enzymes and bacteria to clarify the pond water

When it comes to larger ponds, you should try to ensure that you have a mix of animal and plant life that will automatically ward off algae. However, there may be times when your pond needs a little additional help, in which case a barley ball is able to treat ponds ranging from 220 to almost 2,500 gallons. Barley balls float in your pond and will last for up to six months.

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