While an eco-system pond is very low maintenance it is not “no maintanence”. Below is a list of common maintenance questions. Some pond owners would rather have Tropical Water Gardens perform the required maintenance. Please contact our office for maintenance package information.
Why are the rocks covered with green fuzz?
That green fuzz is filamentatious (string) algae. It is perfectly normal and natural for an organic water garden to have some of that below the water’s surface. If it gets out of control (3+ inches in length), we recommend using treatments of eco-blast and S.A.B. to keep it under control.
Why did my water turn pea-green?
If your pond is new, this is a normal occurrence. Not all ponds go through this phase of Genesis, but many do. Just keep adding the AquaClearer bacteria according to the directions, and it should clear up within a few days. Once the water clears up, begin backing off of the bacteria as long as it stays clear.
When can I add fish? How many fish can I have?
You should wait at least two weeks after the aquatic plants have been installed before introducing Koi or decorative goldfish to your pond. We recommend purchasing small fish (3-5” in length); otherwise, they could wreak havoc on your newly-planted aquatics. The number of Koi fish is calculated as: 1” of fish per cubit foot of water. You can have a few more goldfish than Koi, should you desire to go that route. You can also mix the two, substituting two goldfish for every Koi. These are general rules of thumb to follow. Good judgment and common sense should always prevail.
How often, and how much, should I feed my fish?
Feeding your fish is rarely, if ever, necessary. They will survive just fine without the addition of commercial fish food, surviving quite well on plant material and visiting insect life. Most people, however, enjoy feeding the fish on occasion, and it does make them friendlier pets. Only feed your fish what they can eat before it hits the skimmer, and once a day is plenty. If you over-feed them, not only are you wasting the food, but you are creating an environment where string and free-floating algae can flourish.
Do not feed your fish commercial protein fish food in the winter months when the water temperature drops below 60°. Their metabolism slows down considerably in the cold weather, preventing them from digesting the protein-rich commercial foods on the market. You could actually feed them to death! During that time, however, you can give them natural treats such as watermelon, zucchini, and lettuce.
Can I add more aquatic plants?
Absolutely! Have a ball, and experiment with any number of aquatic plants on the market. You can get plants on-line, but it’s a gamble as to whether or not they’ll survive. When we built your pond, we introduce what we know usually works well, and what we have on hand at that time. Many folks shop around and add tropical water lilies, papyrus, umbrella palm, iris varieties, etc., to their pond. The more diverse the plant mix in the pond, the less chance string algae has of taking hold. If your pond is new (less than 6 months old), you may need to add fertilizer when you introduce a new lily. Otherwise, we don’t recommend fertilizer for the aquatic plants because it’s also a source of food for string algae.
Does the water get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter for the fish?
Not at all. The combination of the 24/7 water circulation and the shade on the pond via aquatic and terrestrial plants keep the temperature reasonable in the summer time. You will notice that the fish hang out in the shade of the lily pads and marginal plants during the sunny time of day.
The fish’s metabolism slows considerably in the winter time, allowing them to even hibernate below several inches of ice in the colder regions.
Do I ever need to drain and clean the pond?
Once a year, in the spring, we recommend a clean-out of the biological filter (and this includes the “pondless” waterfalls). Your pond may need to have a complete clean-out every 1 -3 years. The extent of this cleaning depends on the age of the pond and fish load, as well as other factors that are fairly easy to assess visually. This is something that can be done yourself, or you can hire someone to do it for you. The instructions for doing this job are in your Owner’s Manual.
How often do I need to clean out the skimmer?
This depends greatly on how much debris is falling into the pond at any given time. You may find that this also differs depending on the time of year. We recommend that you check the skimmer basket at least weekly, even if it’s just to look inside and make sure it’s not full yet.
The skimmer pad should be hosed off occasionally, probably every two or three months.
Where can I get more water treatment products?
You can purchase water treatment products, replacement parts, and fun accessories for your pond at our retail store.
What do I do about pest and/or weed control around the pond?
We recommend organic remedies to these problems, such as integrated pest management (IPM): good guys to eat the bad guys. Hummingbirds, flycatchers, toads, dragonflies, and damselflies will automatically show up to most ponds to help out with pest problems. White vinegar makes a fairly effective weed control method for most weeds. If you must use an herbicide, make sure there is no wind and that your application is accurate. We DO NOT recommend you spray any chemical herbicide or pesticide within 50 feet of your pond or water feature. Inform your service, if you have one, of this requirement. Yes, it’s true that the poison is harmless once dry; however, it will never dry out if it hits the pond water, and can cause catastrophic results.