Wiltrout Landscaping

  Biological Ponds and How They Work  
  What Is a Biological Pond?  
  A biological pond is one that is maintained biologically, using naturally-occurring, beneficial bacteria to consume excess sludge and break down plant materials and fish waste, leaving your water clean and clear. Typically such ponds have a fair-sized filter containing gravel, lava rock, or another similar substance as well as rocks and gravel on the bottom. There also needs to be good circulation (we suggest complete circulation of all pond water once an hour) and aeration provided by a waterfall or another device. In a well-balanced biological pond, fish, plants, and beneficial bacteria coexist in a natural ecosystem where each benefits from others.  
  How Exactly Does It Work?  
  Beneficial bacteria colonize your filter substrate and the gravel on the pond bottom. As the water flows through the filter and over the rocks and gravel, it brings along particles of debris and fish wastes, which the bacteria feed upon and convert to harmless substances which fertilize your pond plants. These plants in turn shade the water, lowering the temperature and inhibiting algae growth. They also provide cover and forage for your fish. Fish also nibble algae off the rocks and gravel, keeping things cleaner. The waterfall aerates the water for the benefit of all life in the pond.

While the beneficial bacteria in your pond are naturally-occuring organisms, we recommend jump-starting your pond by adding them manually (especially to new ponds or those just starting up in the spring) because they multiply slowly.
  What About Algae?  
  Some algae is normal in a healthy pond, particularly the kinds that grow on the rocks. If however your water is a cloudy green, it is a sign the system is out of balance. This often occurs when the water is stagnant or not properly aerated, when the filter is not yet established (new ponds), or when there is no biological filter. It also sometimes occurs in sunny ponds during periods of excessive heat. If any issues are addressed, cloudy green water will eventually resolve by itself as your pond comes into balance. In the case of a new pond, continue adding beneficial bacteria and try to be patient; it can take up to 6 weeks to clear up. If you can't wait, we sell fish-safe algae products you can use to control it.

String algae is very common, especially during those weeks in early spring when the water is cold and the bacteria are less efficient. To combat it, give your pond a spring cleanout if you haven't, add bacteria, and wait for warmer weather. Fish may help by eating the algae. Adding water plants to shade the water will also help. Sometimes string algae persists in the stream where the fish cannot go. This is best removed by hand. Small pieces can be brushed off with a brush and sent along downstream where the fish will happily eat them! Persistent string algae can be controlled using barley straw (either bales or a liquid extract) or one of the fish-safe algaecides such as Algaefix (available at our nursery). As with any chemical treatment, always follow label directions carefully and observe your fish for any negative reactions.  
  What Is the Brownish Tint in My Water?  
  Rocks, soil, and leaves may tint the water after a time. Often the tint (if present) is barely noticeable. As long as your water is clear, it is perfectly normal and not a cause for concern. You should be able to easily see your fish. If you want to clear the tint, you can try activated charcoal.  
  Seasonal Pond Maintenance  
Visit our Pond Shoppe for expert advice and a full range of quality pond care products!r