The addition of a water garden with a waterfall or fountain adds another dimension to your landscape - sound. However, one major concern for pond enthusiasts is achieving and maintaining clear water.
Although algae in a pond are to be expected and small quantities of algae are an important part of a balanced eco-system, most pond owners want to keep it to a minimum. A constructed pond requires help in order to avoid problems with excess algae. One method to control algae is to stock and arrange the pond with this method:
There are many types of algae with different colors and textures. The green velvet peach fuzz type that grows on the sides of ponds is a very beneficial type of algae which provides oxygen and food for fish and a more natural appearance to the pond. Generally, the use of filters, plants, and beneficial bacteria keeps the pond in balance and clear water is maintained. Yet at certain times of the year, or if there is an imbalance in the pond, you may still experience algae problems.
If you only occasionally have problems with algae or other suspended particles, which interfere with water clarity, then you might consider a flocculant such as Aqua-Rem. This type of product works by causing particles in suspension to clump together and then fall to the bottom where it must then be removed by siphoning or vacuuming from the bottom, or a mechanical filter can be used to remove this debris.
The best method of guaranteeing clear water is through the use of an ultraviolet sterilizer (UV). This device is a small contained unit that sits outside the pond and connects to the pump. The UV consists of a small light inside a clear glass tube that water passes around. As the water passes by the bulb, it kills or sterilizes free floating algae and bacteria particles. When properly sized to your pond, a UV light will give a near 99% reduction in algae. However, an ultraviolet sterilizer must not be used without adequate biological filtration as the dead algae still must to be broken down by a filter.
Another useful product to aid in improving water quality is packaged bacteria and enzymes used to break down sludge and other organic compounds. Microbe-Lift and Back-up can greatly increase water quality both in its ability to support aquatic life and also in its clarity.
For your fish to be healthy and also to help with the control of algae, the pH of the pond water needs to be monitored using a pH test kit. The pH should be between 6.6 and 7.8 with the ideal being 7 to 7.2. Unless the pH is below 6.5 or above 8 then it is usually best not to try and adjust it.
For more tips on pond care and all the products and supplies needed to create and maintain a beautiful water feature in your landscape, visit Harper's Statuary & Water Gardens in Harrisonburg, VA.
Harper's Water Garden Center is one of the largest in the Shenandoah Valley and definitely the most unique. They currently have over fifty water gardens, fountains and other water features set up on site.