Summertime is here, and while you might be in relaxation mode, it’s important to remember that you can’t really take a vacation from your backyard pond.
The good news is that pond care shouldn’t take up too much of your time. By spending a few minutes each week on these tips – and an occasional trip to your New Jersey pond supply store – you’ll keep your pond healthy all summer.
1. Preventing the pond from drying out
During long, hot dry spells, the water in your pond begins to evaporate, leaving your fish with less oxygen. This can make them feel stressed, and more susceptible to illness.
Keep your pond healthy by topping it off once each week using collected rain water, or tap water that you’ve allowed to get warm. Water straight from your hose/sink will be too cold for your fish, and – as we’ll see later – can help algae grow.
2. Filtering the water
Your pond needs a good filtration system to stay healthy. A filter is crucial to flush out the waste produced by fish and decomposing plants, and to protect fish from ammonia and nitrate build-up.
Test for nitrates every other day. The optimal level of nitrate for goldfish is zero. Nitrate levels can become too high if you have too many fish in your pond. You should have three to four square feet of water surface for each goldfish.
3. Caring for pond plants
You probably won’t need to spend much time pruning pond plants during the summer, but spend a few minutes every week trimming away failing or fading flowers and leaves. Sick, dead or dying leaves will rot and leave your water discolored.
Underwater plants can become overgrown in the summer, so you may need to pull up a few clumps to prevent them from turning your pond into a swamp.
Be sure to leave the plant clumps at the edge of the water overnight, so that any aquatic wildlife living there can return to the water, then send them to your compost heap.
4. Weeds and algae
Remove floating weeds to keep the surface of the pond clean. Again, keep them on the side of the pond before discarding to allow any aquatic creatures a chance to get back in the water. After you’ve cleared floating weeds, check the edge of the pond for any standard garden weeds.
There are many kinds of algae that can cause trouble in your pond, but they all do the same thing: sap the water of oxygen that your fish need, and make the pond look unsightly. One way to avoid algae is by using rainwater to top off your pond, as tap water contains nutrients that can feed algae.
Your New Jersey pond supply store should be able to provide you with products such as algae fix, pond clear and barley straw, which prevents new algae outbreaks.
5. Don’t overfeed the fish
Fish are much more active in the summer. They have a quicker metabolism, eat more, grow faster and produce more waste. It should be safe to feed the fish twice a day, but no more. Food that goes uneaten just dirties the water.
If you need help caring for your pond this summer, visit Mendham Garden Center. Our New Jersey pond supply products include everything from plants and fish to pumps and filters and algae control products.
Contact us today to find out how we can make your pond a happier place this summer.