Here is a great article to help you through these hot summer months where all of your hard work in the spring and fall will allow you to enjoy the sights and sounds of a healthy pond. Of course, these are the days of rapid algae growth and the frequent but potentially severe bouts with fish problems. The following is a strategy to keep your fish population happy and healthy, and the water looking clear for the remainder of the season.
WARM WATER TEMPURATURE:
Late summer brings about our highest water temperatures. Water temperatures over 80 degrees (F) bring a different set of challenges to the aquatic ecosystem. High temperatures in fresh water hold less oxygen and puts a large amount of stress on the aquatic creatures that call your pond home. Whether it is a backyard water garden or a large acre pond, high temps are hard on fish.
The middle of summer is the most important time to aerate the pond. Running your water feature for a pond or aerator as much as is feasible to keep your fish happy. In larger ponds (with depths greater than 4ft and surface areas larger than 700 square feet) additional sub-surface aeration and/or diffused aeration is most efficient. Here is an example of a sub-surface aeration system. Moving water is the key, the mixing of water allows for the elimination of harmful dissolved gases, and the infusion of oxygen into the water columns, especially important at the lower sediment layer. Getting oxygen to the lower sediments allows of the degradation of organic material like leaves, fish waste, and assorted muck that accumulates over time. Most of the potential problems with ponds lies within the accumulation of these organic sediments. Luckily though, this time of year is the best time to attack those sediments.
Each pond is unique and needs to be sized for your system for best effect.
Your aeration system is your best tool for the reduction of organic muck. Here are some ways to make your pond healthier.
1. Start and/or increase the dose of your bacteria regime for the breakdown of the muck. Summertime beneficial bacteria will supercharge your system. Ponds of all sizes will greatly benefit from the addition of beneficial bacteria during the summer months. There are lots of these natural products out there; my advice is to try different brands each year until you find the one that works best for your ecosystem. Everyone’s water chemistry is different, and each bacteria strain developed in slightly different environments, so try a few out and find one that does well in your pond. For larger ponds you should be using 1-3 pounds of bacteria per week.
2. For a water garden, run your filter system through the night and very early in the morning, as the time just after dusk and before dawn are when the oxygen levels will be at their lowest. During these times, the plants and/or algae stop producing oxygen and actually start consuming it. So it is very important that we are always putting in more oxygen then we are using to eliminate the possibility of an oxygen depletion.
3.Make sure to remove dead and dying plant debris from the pond. If you are outside working in the yard, take a walk around the pond and remove anything that could potentially become a problem later on. Dead pond lily leaves, seed pods and leaves from other aquatic plants, removing it all helps in the long run. Your pond is a lot like your yard, if you leave it alone for too long it will begin to degrade.
In order to stay ahead of the algae blooms, a bit of maintenance is the plan. If it is not possible to get electrical lines out to your farm pond for an electric aeration system, solar systems for pond aeration is now available in affordable packages.