Spring is upon us and that means it’s the perfect time to give our gardens some much needed love and attention after the cold, winter months. It also provides an opportunity to redesign gardens and put in that pond you’ve been thinking about. Maybe you already have one but you need some help bringing it to life. To help, Dave Hulse, Tetra’s Technical Consultant has popped together some key tips to consider when thinking about introducing, or even reintroducing, a pond to your garden.
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Top tips on choosing your pond fish:
Adding fish to your pond is a great way to bring it to life. When choosing fish it is important to consider the dimensions of the pond and the maximum size the fish can grow to. A pond should have regions that have a maximum depth of 90cm to ensure fish can successfully hibernate over winter. There are many beautiful pond fish varieties to choose from including the single-tailed, short-finned goldfish or for larger ponds koi carp, golden orfe or the crazy-looking sturgeon.
It’s important to get a good varied mix of plants for your pond. This will not only to make it look attractive, but also to provide a home for underwater animals as well as frogs, dragonflies and birds. You’ll also find that live pond plants will help keep your algae levels down. Here’s a few tips to think about when you select your pond plants:
- Marginal plants (where the roots are in the water but with aerial foliage) which offer excellent above-water habitat, provide shade to the pond edges, and offer a natural border between the land and the water.
- Submerged pond plants which offer habitat for aquatic animals and can oxygenate the water in daylight, (but are no substitute for a good waterfall or fountain on the pond).
- Lily rhizomes sit on the base of the pond, but their leaves and flowers float on the pond surface, offering shade. The Bakker.com Floating Plant Island would work well for this purpose.
- Most pond plants benefit from planting in a specialised aquatic plant substrate held in a rigid planting basket. This prevents the compost escaping into the water and protects the plant roots from the nibbling attention of the fish. Pond plants can be fertilised by monthly addition of Tetra Pond PlantaMin which makes your aquatic plants grow, creating a beautiful pond with vividly coloured plants Bakker.com offer lots more expert advice on plant choices
The importance of filtration in ponds
All ponds containing fish must have a filtration system installed to trap solid waste, breakdown dissolved toxic wastes and aerate the water. Frequent cleaning of the foams or matting in the pond’s filter is essential to remove trapped solid wastes. The pond will benefit from regular partial water changes, and so when cleaning the filter foams you should drain out 5 – 10% of the pond water volume then top up with tap water. It is vital however, before any tap water is added to the pond that a tap water conditioner such as Tetra AquaSafe is applied to the pond water to remove fish-toxic chlorine from the tap water. Tetra AquaSafe works by rapidly and effectively neutralises these harmful substances and also adds essential substances such as minerals and iodine to the water.
As mentioned above, blooms of troublesome algae are an ever-present threat to your beautiful pond. This can make the pond look very unpleasant, and blanketweed or string algae can clog filtration systems and even trap fish. Regular addition of an algaecide such as Tetra Pond AlgoFin and Tetra Pond AlgoRem will further discourage algae blooms and persistent blanketweed. Feeding your fish a highly digestible food such TetraPond Sticks will also minimise the solid wastes the fish excrete reducing the build-up of algae encouraging nutrients.