An important part of a pond's health is beneficial bacteria. Often there can be a lot of guess work involved in determining if you even have good levels of these little helpers in your pond. So how can you tell that these little cleaners are at work? The most obvious answer is to look at the clarity of your water. If a pond is naturally clear, it is very likely that there are beneficial bacteria playing a large part in keeping it that way. If, for some reason, there is an absence of beneficial bacteria, sludge will form and algae will begin to invade your pond. For the absence of beneficial bacteria, it is better to not only think of how to add more bacteria to your water, but also how to avoid killing it with simple mistakes. Bacteria from Buckets There are things you can do to increase your beneficial bacteria levels. Products such as Easy-Pro Pond-Vive Pond Bacteria are great, especially if you are building a pond in your backyard or your pond has just survived the winter months. If you have fish, they may produce some waste buildup. Adding beneficial bacteria regularly may be a good idea. Putting rocks or stones in your pond will provide a good surface for the bacteria to thrive. Lastly, biofilters can do wonders for a pond, but be sure to restock it with more good bacteria if the Pond Filter has been shut down for an extended period of time. Aeration Good oxygen levels are needed for beneficial bacteria to thrive. Often the deeper the water, the more oxygen is depleted at the bottom. This is why larger ponds have more problems with aeration. Pond owners can buy aerators, water fountains, or build a waterfall to create this beneficial, and beautiful, movement. The real trick is to create an environment where beneficial bacteria can be cultivated without being interfered with or killed by other environmental factors. Water Chemistry Pay attention to your water chemistry. Inexpensive test strips can tell you if your pH is in the desired range (6.7 to 8.5). Use the ones to test aquariums instead of pool test strips as these will be able to give you the more precise readings you need. Keep your alkalinity between 120 to 180 ppm and your hardness should stay between 75 to 150 ppm. Copper and Algaecides Try not to use any additive with copper in small ponds, especially if your pond has fish. It is likely that it will kill a large portion of your good bacteria. You can use ionizers which release copper periodically, but this will make your efforts to add beneficial bacteria into the water moot. Use one or the other to save yourself time and money. UV Light UV light will kill beneficial bacteria along with algae and pathogens. It is a good idea to give your UV light a rest for a few days after adding in beneficial bacteria. If green water isn't an issue, try giving the bacteria a chance to thrive and leave the bulb off for longer. The key to having a thriving beneficial bacteria population is promoting bacteria growth while also avoiding hindering it. If you keep these factors in mind while caring for your pond, you'll likely have thriving little cleaners and beautiful water.