Would you wait until your car broke down before changing the oil? Probably not. Most people know that not performing this simple maintenance step can lead to their engine overheating. If the problem is bad enough it can greatly damage the engine, costing several thousand dollars to repair.
The same principle applies to pond care. While waiting for excessive weed and algae growth won't necessarily damage your pond to the point that it costs thousands of dollars to repair it, it will create a stinking mess. To fix it, you will be stuck with a lot of extra work that you won't appreciate.
Not convinced yet? Keep reading to learn all about the benefits of a proactive strategy when it comes to caring for your pond.
Reactive Pond Care
The major issue with outdoor ponds and other still water bodies is the excessive growth of weeds and algae. In a river or other body of water that is moving, plant particles that fall off are washed away. In still water, they sit there rotting. It doesn't take long before there is unattractive green muck floating on the surface of the water and unappealing odors are wafting about.
People who use the reactive pond care approach understand the need to control weeds and algae. Thus, when they start to see excessive growth, they dump chemicals in the water designed to kill off the weeds.
On the surface, this approach seems to work, but the chemicals don't kill off the vegetation completely. It's still there, sinking to the bottom of the pond and rotting.
To make matters worse, as plant matter dies it releases phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients into the water. This is great if you're cultivating a garden but is terrible in a pond where you are trying to prevent excessive vegetative growth. You're essentially creating a steady stream of fertilizer that will only fuel more and more plant growth.
It's a vicious cycle that will only get worse with time — which is why many people are now turning to a more proactive pond care approach.
Proactive Pond Care
Proactive pond care focuses on creating a somewhat self-sustaining ecosystem. Keep in mind that not all plant growth is bad. Having certain types of plants around the edge of your pond can help keep the shoreline from eroding. The key to a healthy pond is to create a balance and keep dead rotting plant matter from building up to more than the ecosystem can handle.
There are three main factors you need to address to create this ecosystem. Remember you should take these steps before you start to see excessive growth. However, even if you already have growth in your pond, don't worry! These steps will help your pond find the right balance even if it takes a little longer.
We usually think of bacteria as a bad thing. However, you've probably heard that it is healthy to eat yogurt and other fermented foods with probiotics to bolster the good bacteria in your digestive system. Without this good bacteria to break down food, your body can't process it as well and you'll begin to have digestive troubles.
The same goes for a pond. Good bacteria in the water "eat up" the nutrients that fuel plant growth, lowering the ability of weeds and algae to flourish. Even if you already have a thick layer of muck on the bottom of your pond, adding good bacteria to the water will eat away at that layer and help prevent build up in the future.
To further encourage good bacteria to flourish, there needs to be plenty of oxygen in the water. Only the water at the surface of the pond can react with the air to extract the oxygen it needs. As you might imagine this is a very slow way of oxygenating the pond and very little oxygen makes it to the depths of the pond.
If you have fish in the pond and the oxygen level drops low enough, they could even suffocate and die.
To avoid this, you need to aerate the pond. Aeration is a simple process, you simply need to get the water moving enough so that oxygen can circulate through the whole pond, including the deepest depths.
A powerful pond aerator will circulate water from the bottom of the pond and keep the water nicely oxygenated. Consider using a solar pond aerator if you don't have easy access to electricity near your pond or prefer to be more eco-friendly.
Have fun with your pond aeration and add a decorative element. A beautiful pond foundation is a nice touch and will help aerate the water by sucking up water from the bottom of the pond and shooting it up in the air.
Sunlight is also an accelerant for plant growth. Do you remember learning about photosynthesis in high school? Many aquatic plants use the anoxygenic process of photosynthesis, which does not produce oxygen and instead can produce hydrogen sulfide, a gas that is known for smelling like rotten eggs.
To help cut down on the amount of sunlight that penetrates the water, you can dye your pond. Pond dyes come in a few different shades of blue and can make your pond look beautiful and natural while helping to keep plant growth in check.
Getting Started with Proactive Pond Care
As you can see, proactive pond care is far more beneficial both in saving money and time and keeping a more natural, clean pond.
Setting up the system is simple. Whether you're just building a pond or already have some serious water quality problems, give us a call! We have what you need to get your pond's ecosystem set up right.