Table of Contents
- Determine the perfect location for your pond or waterfall.
- Mark out the dimensions and shape of your pond or waterfall with
spray paint or hose.
- Dig down about 18" deep and 12" wide to make your highest shelf
for plant life. Dig down another 18" x 12" to make the second
shelf. Continue with this until you reach your desired depth.
Make sure that all the shelves are level by laying a 2x4 across the
pond. Do this for each shelf
- Spread a l" layer of sand over the entire pond including the
shelves. This will prevent sharp objects from puncturing the liner.
- Determine the location and drop-off height of your waterfall.
- Using the soil that you dug out from the lower pond, build a
wall of soil equal to the height of the waterfall to support it;
you can also use cinder blocks for this.
- To determine the size of the liner you will need, take a tape
measure and start on one side and measure down into the pond,
across, and up the other side. This will be the width; add two
feet for extra. Do the same thing for length but make sure to
include the waterfall height and again, add two feet extra. (Note:
This is only for the lower pond. The size of the upper pond cannot
be determined until the waterfall is complete.) You will also need
the same size under-layment.
- Installing under-layment. Do not trim until the pond is
- Install liner. Be sure that it overlaps by at least 2 feet at
the top of the pond. Fill it to the top with water to settle it and
wait 1-2 days.
- Pump out water. Start to build your waterfall with rocks until
you are 4" below your desired height.
- Determine the size and shape of your upper pond. It needs to be
at least 2 feet deep. Install under-layment and liner. The liner to
the top pond needs to overlap the liner coming up from the
waterfall. This is in case of puncture from installing the waterfall
- Install the top rock for the waterfall to flow over.
- Place pump in the furthest location from the waterfall for
- Install oversized river round on the bottom of the lower pond
and to surround pump and host to hide them.
For shelves use wall stone to cover liner. This will give it a
- Fill with water.
- To install bio-filter you will need a piece of PVC Pipe the
width of the upper pond. Place a cap on each end. Cut pipe in half
and install a T. Drill ½" holes spaced every inch on all sides.
Place in pond and connect.
|XL + 100SF
The approximate sizes of the ponds are based on surface
measurements. Multiply the length at the longest point by the
width at the widest point to obtain the surface square fee.
These figures are starting stocking requirements. More can
be added as desired or necessary. Large and extra large ponds
should be stocked with half of the above quantities initially and
approximately two weeks later the balance can be added. The
pond ecosystem will not be balanced if all the items are stocked at
Note: These are approximate numbers and will vary from pond to
pond depending on location and exposure.
It is important to know the volume of water in your pond.
Knowing the volume of water can help you determine the number of
fish the pond can hold. Knowing the volume is important when
calculating partial water changes and using pond maintenance and
feeding products. The easiest method to calculate the volume
of your pond is to measure the amount of water used to initially
fill the pond. Before you fill your pond for the first time,
note the time it takes to fill a 5 gallon (18.9L) bucket with tap
water at a constant flow rate from a garden hose. Then fill
the pond at this same constant flow rate using the garden hose.
Record the time (in seconds) it takes to fill the pond. Then,
use the following formula to determine the volume of your pond.
Volume of pond =
Time required to fill pond (seconds)
x volume of bucket gal/l)
Time required to fill
If the pond is already filled, the volume can be calculated by
using one of the formulas below. Then convert the volume to gallons
Square and Rectangle Ponds
Length x Width x
Average Depth = Volume (in feet or meters)
9'L x 6'W x 2'D = A pond volume of 108
cubic feet (3 cubic meters)
Top diameter x Bottom diameter x
Height (feet or meters) x .785 = Volume of Pond
(3'TD x 3'BD x 2'H) x .785 = A pond volume
of 14.13 cubic feet (.39 cubic meters)
Converting Volume to Gallons/Liters
L x W x
D x 7.5 = Gallons
L x W x D x 1000 = Liters
In garden pools, water lilies are usually
grown in containers set in the pool. Hardy varieties should be
planted in spring after all the ice is off the pond, but you do not
need to wait for the last frost date. They may be transplanted
as late as a month before the fall frost date. In Zone 5
(Northeastern Pa), for instance, hardy lilies may be planted as
early as late April.
Tropicals should not be placed in your pool until the water has
warmed to a steady 70° F at night. In colder water they will
go dormant and be difficult to revive. Any water change should
be made at least one week before the containers are placed in the
pond. In Zone 10, which encompasses southern Florida and
Texas, tropicals can survived winters outdoors. In all other
zones where frost occurs, the cold kills tropical water lilies
unless the tender tubers are stored in a greenhouse pool during the
winter. Most gardeners simply treat tropical lilies as
annuals, replacing them every year.
Position the water lily container on cinder blocks in the bottom
of the pool so that the crown is between 6 and 18 inches below the
waterline. It will take several weeks for new growth to
develop. To speed growth, start by placing the container only
6 inches below the surface, where the water is warm and lit by
the sun. Gradually lower the container to its final position
as the lily pads grow.
Most water lilies need full sun from ten to twelve hours a day to
bloom well. A few varieties, however, will bloom with only
three or four hours of sunlight every day but the more sun they
receive, the more flowers they will produce.
Water lilies need to be fertilized regularly. Tropical and
hardy lilies should be fed one slow-release fertilizer tablet for
every 8 quarts of soil every month during the growing season.
Place a water lily plant fertilizer tab 3" into the soil and cover
it. This way, the fertilizer will feed the water lily and not
leach into the water adding algae growth. Then place a 1/2"
small diameter gravel (1B Size) on top of the soil to prevent the
soil in the container from clouding your pond water.
As water lilies grow, their outer leaves may turn yellow. This is
normal. Simply remove the unsightly leaves and the water lily will
produce new growth. Old blossoms may also be cut off. In fall,
after frost, remove the dead foliage from the pool.
As a precaution in winter, lower the containers of hardy lilies
to the bottom of the pond before it ices over. If there is any risk
of the pond freezing solid, remove the container before the ice
becomes permanent. Allow the soil to drain for a few minutes
and trim away all foliage. Wrap the container in moist burlap
or peat moss and store at 40-50° F in a cool corner of the basement
or garage. Cover each container with a plastic garbage bag to
keep in the moisture; check the soil regularly to be sure that it
In the natural living pond there are several different levels of
moisture surrounding the area in and around the pond. The
edges or "marginal" area that is too wet for regular grasses and dry
land plants to grow; the area where there is water but it is not
deep enough for the water plants (like the lilies); and last but not
least the water area where the water is deep enough for lilies to
root and grow. So, in reality we have two different "Bog" or
"Marginal" areas to plant. Plants that grow in these wet areas
are often referred to as bog plants or marginals.
Bog plants help provide shade, food, and oxygen for fish and
other inhabitants of the garden pool. The plants also help to
remove impurities from the water.
To over-winter Bog plants in a garden pond situation, the plants
should be cut back in the late fall and the pots dropped to the
bottom of the deepest part of the pool to keep them from freezing.
If your pool is less than 18" deep and a thick ice formation is
expected, remove the containers from the water and place them in a
cool (40-50° F) area which is not subject to freezing.
Maintain the soil in a damp, but not wet, condition throughout the
whole winter. Keep and eye out for rodent damage. Bog
plants can be placed in the pool after chanced of freezing are
reduced and the temperature is increasing.
Creating an Environment for Bog Plants
Numerous woodland, marsh, and swamp plants flourish in boggy soil
where their roots remain constantly moist. You can establish a
bog at the edge of a garden pool, but if the two share the same
water source, silt may move from the boggy are into the pond, so it
is best to separate the pool from the bog with a natural sill of
garden soil or with a paved walk. Create an artificial bog by
underlying the garden site with PVC or 500-gauge plastic sheeting to
keep the soil wet. Excavate the bog garden to a depth of 9"
and spread the sheeting across the bottom and 6" up the sides.
Though you should take reasonable precautions to prevent
punctures by removing large sticks and rubble, you needn't worry
about creating a perfect seal. In the bottom of the liner,
scatter a layer of medium-sized pebbles to a depth of approximately
2". This under layer allows surface water to drain to the
catch-sheet below. Before you return the topsoil, enrich it
with well rotted manure, garden compost, or moistened peat moss.
The amount of watering required varies according to the weather.
Try to keep the soil constantly moist by watering regularly during
dry spells. Most bog plants are tough and will survive a few
dry spells without extra watering though they may not look their
All this group have in common is their ability to feed through
roots suspended in water without any contact with soil. They
vary greatly in form, character, and ornamental value. By
shading the water and using up nutrients they can help in
suppressing algae, and fish use the root masses of some as spawning
Eichhornia Crassipes (Water Hyacinth) - Has swollen
leaf stems that make each plant a buoyant island of dark shiny
green. It raises spikes of beautiful pale lavender flowers and
trails and has lengthy root masses ideal for spawning fish.
The showiest of the floaters in a favorable climate, it can spread
at such a prodigious rate as to become a serious nuisance. It
is safe outdoors only in the summer.
Pistia Stratiotes (Water Lettuce) - Really does
resemble a flat type of garden lettuce but with leaves of felt.
It needs warm summer temperatures.
These are the plants that are commonly referred to in the United
States as oxygenating grasses. In Britain they are called
water weeds more often that not, which is a poor reward for what
are, in effect, the pond's valuable maids-of-all-work. They
provide a spawning medium for fish and a hiding place for fry; they
harbor astonishing numbers of food organisms and, in addition, are
themselves a valuable part of a goldfish's diet. They also
produce oxygen, of course. So do all the other plants in the
pond, those with leaves on or above the surface discharge it into
the air; oxygenators release it directly into the water (only,
however, under the influence of strong light). At night they
produce not oxygen but carbon dioxide, and, since fish are using
oxygen and producing carbon dioxide all the time, it is clear that
the notion of so many oxygenators plus so many inches of fish
producing a balanced oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange is a fallacy.
In fact, in a pond with the sort of proportions that have been
discussed, all the oxygen fish need will be supplied simply by the
natural process of absorption through the water surface.
What makes oxygenating plants valuable is not the production of
oxygen; that is, possibly, the least of their virtues.
Oxygenators need nutrients to build up their rapid summer growth and
they feed not through roots, which are primarily for anchorage, but
by absorbing dissolved mineral salts directly from the water through
their leaves and stems. In this they compete directly with
algae which rely on the same food source. The algae, starved
of light by the leaves of water lilies and starved of food by the
competition of oxygenators, need to be present in some numbers from
the beginning in a new pond filled with mineral rich tap water even
further enriched by minerals dissolving out of the soil in planting
containers. The standard recommendation is one bunch for every
2 square feet of water surface area. I would be satisfied with
one for every 3 square feet in pools up to 100 square feet; above
that one for every 4 sq ft until, beyond 500 sq ft, I would reduce
the rate to one for every 6 sq ft.
It is often stated, by people who should know better, that
oxygenators are "just dropped in". True, some of the drifting
fragments will eventually root somewhere, but this is not the way to
get growth going quickly. They need to be planted.
Cabomba - Feathery green and purple leaves on dark
Elodea (Anacharis) - Whirls of deep green leaves.
One of the better oxygenation grasses.
(Can be planted along the
edges of your pond.)
Arenaria Montana (Mountain Sandwort) - White
flowers in early summer.
Aruncus (Goatsbear) - White flowers in June & July.
Astilbe (False Spirea) - Assorted colors and bloom
periods and well as heights.
Boltonia Asteriodes (White Boltina) - August bloom.
Campanula (Bellflower) - Assorted bloom color and
Chelon Lyonii (Turtlehead) - Pink August bloom.
Coreopsis Rosea (Rose Coreopsis) - Pink bloom June
Digtails (Foxglove) - Assorted colors. July
and August bloom.
Eupatorium (Boneset) - Pink bloom July to
Geranium Sanquineum (Blood-red Cranesbill) -
Assorted colors June to frost.
Helenium (Sneezed Weed) - Yellow July to September.
Hemerocallis (Daylily) - Assorted colors, bloom
periods, and heights.
Hosta - Plantain, leafy perennial.
Yellow - Pseudacorus - June
Blue - Sibirica
Caesar's Brother - June
Gold - Blk - Sibirica Ruffled Velvet - June
Liatris (Gay Feather) - Purple or white July to
Liriope (Lily Turf) - Grassy-like ground cover.
Lysimachia - Yellow blooms in July.
Lythrum (Loosetrife) - Pink or violet July to
Monarda (Wild Bergamot) - Assorted colors July,
August, and September.
Physostergia Virginiana (Obedience) - Pink or white in
August and September.
Polemonium (Jacob's Ladder) - Blue in July
Polygonatum (Soloman's Seal) - Very
Pulmonaria (Lungwort) - Red in May and June.
Controlling Aquatic Weeds and Pests
In garden pools, floating and submerged plants often grow so
abundantly that they must be thinned out to keep some water surface
open. You can pull excess plants out by hand or with a plastic
garden rake. If you keep an eye on these plants and do not let them
get out of control, your weeding task will require only a few
minutes a week.
A number of insects (fewer than those found elsewhere) are fond
of eating aquatic plants. With close observation you will be able to
spot the pest. You can pick off caterpillars by hand; wade into the
pool wearing wading boots to reach plant, if necessary. Other small
pests can be washed away by pushing the leaves underwater or
spraying with a stream from a hose.
Most insecticides shouldn't be used near the water, since they
can harm fish. BT (Bacillus thuringiensis), a bacteria pathogenic to
young larvae, is safe to use on all caterpillars and worms. This is
available under many brand names; follow directions on the label.
Some water gardeners use a vegetable oil on aquatic plants to
smother insects. The most common pests troubling aquatic plants are
China Mark Moths
Large oval holes, cut marks,
cutting or shredding in the foliage of aquatic plants, especially
water lilies, are signs of the China Mark Moth caterpillars. There
are two kinds of the China Mark Moth. The caterpillars feed on the
under and upper sides of the leaves and bind cut pieces of leaves
around themselves with silk. They also bore into leaf stems, killing
the leaves. Damage inflicted by these pests is unsightly but not
serious enough to kill the plants. Caterpillars can easily be picked
off by hand or controlled with BT if you catch them while they are
False Leaf-Mining Midge
A narrow tracery of
lines appearing on the upper surface of a water lily foliage is a
sign of False Leaf-Mining Midges. The midges lay eggs in the foliage
and the larvae form mines or tunnels in the leaves. Pick off
infested leaves and destroy them to prevent the pest from spreading.
Water Lily Aphid
The Water Lily Aphid is
especially prevalent during warm, humid weather, when it attacks
leaves and flowers. The small wingless insects reproduce
prolifically, causing disfigured growth and spreading virus
diseases. To control them, hose foliage with water. If
any are left behind, submerge infected flowers and pads and shake
them underwater to remove the pests. An active fish population
will take care of the ones that are dislodged. In severe
infections, some gardeners spray with a mixture of corn oil and
water. The oil should smother the pest without harming the
fish. Do not spray new leaves when the temperature is over 80°
Water lilies can be permitted to die
down naturally. Leaves and flowers should be cut off as they die back
and turn brown. The less debris left to decay in the water the better.
They (lilies) can be left in the pool as long as there is at least 9-10"
of water covering the top of the pot. If there is less than this it is a
good idea to pull the potted lily up after dormancy has set in and place
it in a 5 gallon bucket to be stored in a place that is cold yet a hard
freeze will not occur (perhaps a garage).
Oxygenators should be cut back and left at the bottom of
the pool. Excess should be removed.
Bog Plants should be cut back after the first hard frost
and sunk to the bottom of the pool. They should be raised as soon as
the temperature starts to rise.
Hardy Floating Plants produce turions (winter buds) which
fall to the bottom of the pool to reappear the following spring when
the water warms up. In the autumn, before these buds disappear, you
can collect a few and store them in a jar of pool water with a
handful of mud on the bottom. Keep them in a cool, light place until
spring when they can be encouraged into early growth and put in the
pool to help keep down early algae growth.
Most pool varieties of the hardier gold fish (Commons, Commets,
Fantails, Shubunkins) as well as Koi, winter well in an outdoor pool
as long as the pool doesn't freeze completely to the bottom and
there is a small open surface area for gas exchange. As water
turns colder the fish activity comes to an almost complete
standstill. By the time the pool is beginning to freeze over the
fish are just hovering, almost motionless. They have gone into a
type of hibernation and since they are not exerting any energy they
will need NO FOOD.
In Spring, as water temperatures begin to rise, you may gradually
begin to feed again. BUT BE CAREFUL!!! Fish can, at this time,
overeat, bloat and die. So feed sparingly until the return activity
levels. This whole process is dependent upon water temperature.
Don't change pool water often. In a well balanced outdoor pool, once
a year is enough. Change it in the spring when the pool is drained
to split and repot water lilies and bog plants that have outgrown
their pots or you can change the water in the fall when you are
cleaning the garden pool and cutting back the vegetation.
Leaves and other organic matter should be removed from the pool in
the fall to eliminate the toxic (to fish) gas which is released as
they decay. One of the best reasons for doing the water change in
the fall is that the fish are not at their peak and the stress of
cleaning the pool and adding fresh water will not be as great. When
changing the pool water, transfer the fish into a container of the
pond water from which they were taken and set them in a shaded
place. Refill the pool with a hose set on spray, since this will
help to dissipate the chlorine and incorporate oxygen. If you don't
have time to let the chlorine dissipate you can used a product
called Contrchlor or Aqua Safe. When pool water levels drop due to
evaporation, try to add water when the drop is around 2" thus you
avoid adding to much "fresh" water at one time but always
spray it in.
In an outdoor garden pool, fish will do well in whatever
temperature the season may bring. Occasionally fish will
become ill. But, when they do, owners must react quickly to
control the problem. It is helpful to realize that all fish
carry pathogens which do not cause problems until the fish are
placed under stress. Since summer brings about the combination
of two stress factors - heat and increased oxygen consumption - you
may want to treat your fish at this time with DesaFin. ALWAYS
READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS EXPLICITLY.
DesaFin can also be used when adding new fish to the pool. To
find out how many fish you can safely add to your pool, keep in mind
the goldfish rule: "Buy 1" of fish (don't count the tail) for every
20 square inches of water surface area". When introducing new fish
to the pool, place the bag in the water 10 to 15 minutes to allow
water temperatures to equalize. If it is sunny and hot, shade the
bag with a piece of newspaper to avoid the greenhouse effect of the
plastic bag. Then, after the water temperatures have equalized,
slowly add the fish to your pond.
Feeding the fish in your pond will be one of your favorite things
to do. Feed fish once a day and feed only what the fish can eat in 5
minutes. If you use this rule you will have very little water
settling to the bottom of your pool which will cloud the water. If
you can't be there to feed every day, it is no hardship for the fish
because they can go 4 to 5 days without supplemental food. Don't
forget that in the natural world Mother Nature provides food in the
form of insects and plant materials for the fish to eat.
Two types of beetles occasionally attack and kill fish in garden
ponds. The great diving beetle measures about 1½" long and ¾"
wide. It's body is dark brown and tinged brownish gold.
The beetle attaches itself to the body of a fish and feeds off its
juices. Since they must surface periodically to breathe, you
can net the pests with a hand net and destroy them.
Water boatmen beetles swim on their backs on the surface, using
their legs like oars to speed themselves across the water.
They can inflict wounds on large fish and kill the fry.
Frequent netting is the only way to dispose of these pests.
Fish diseases may be caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites and
can kill fish if they are not treated. Often, overstocking or
dirty water causes the fish to weaken, which leads to disease.
Fish under stress are particularly susceptible to disease.
Stress may be caused by transportation, low oxygen supply, high
ammonia content in water, improper water pH, sudden temperature or
pH change, and improper diet.
Disease symptoms are not difficult for a beginner to observe.
If you see a fish that is blotched or discolored, remove it
immediately. A number of general fish medicines are available
for parasite, fungus, and bacterial control. You may want to
keep these on hand. Consult a book or local fish dealer for
help in choosing the correct treatment.
If there are too many fish in the pond waste builds up in the
form of ammonia, which leads to gradual poisoning. Gases given
off by excessive leaf decay can also cause fish to weaken and die.
The best remedy in either case is to remove the fish, change
the water, and reduce the population before returning the healthy
fish to the fresh pond water.
Most of the routine care needed for your water garden won't take
much of your time. As you're enjoying the pool, you'll clip a
dead blossom here, a pad there, add a bit of water from the garden
hose, and wash off a few pests at the same time. Part of the
enjoyment of you pool comes from the involvement you feel in tending
to it. And that comes naturally.
Caring for Your Pond with Pond Care Products
If your pond has been dormant from the winter cold, then spring
is a good time to clean and inspect the pond. Begin with
AMMONIA REMOVER to absorb excess ammonia that will build up as water
warms. This will also give the biological filter a chance to
resume normal activity. Ammonia levels should be tested
weekly. Make a 15% to 25% water change over several
consecutive days to eliminate elements that may be polluting the
water. Use CHLORINE AND HEAVY METAL NEUTRALIZER when making a
pond water change. It will safely remove the toxic chlorine
and heavy metals in the tap water.
To remove the buildup of sludge that has accumulated on the pond
floor or rocks, treat the pond with POND-ZYME. The digestive
enzymes quickly break down pond sludge. A buildup of sludge
can result in low PH and oxygen levels.
After a long cold winter, pond fish are especially susceptible to
disease. Use STRESS COAT to restore the natural slime coating
that helps fight off fish disease. The protective coating of
Aloe Vera will also promote healing of skin wounds.
As pond water temperature gradually rises to 50°F (10°C), pond
life becomes more active. Begin feeding pond fish lightly for
the first two weeks into the season. SIGNAL FEEDER BLOCKS can
be used as a first food of the season. Fish can feed at will
as the block begins to slowly dissolve in the pond. The food
is available to the fish continuously. When the block has
dissolved and the food has been consumed, a brightly colored float
will bob to the surface, signaling that it's time for a new block.
At the same time, pond plants begin seasonal growth. To
help promote flowering, use AQUATIC PLANT STIMULANT to supply
important elements to stimulate healthy growth of all pond plants. AQUATIC PLANT STIMULANT does not add phosphate or nitrate, therefore
it will not cause algae blooms.
In late spring, many ponds experience a temporary algae or
bacterial bloom caused by sunlight, buildup of dissolved organics,
phosphates, and nitrates. These blooms will clear up in time, but
until then the pond water will appear cloudy. Immediately use ACCU-CLEAR
to quickly clear cloudy pond water. It clumps the tiny
suspended dirt and debris together, allowing it to be filtered out
of the pond water.
Seasonal Preparation and Care
As water warms, everything becomes active. Use ACCU-CLEAR to
reduce "green water". Add PHOSPHATE REMOVER to control the nutrients
that cause the algae blooms. Pond fish and aquatic plants are most
active during the summer months. The SIGNAL FEEDER BLOCKS can be
used weekly or when you're on vacation as a supplement to regular
feeding. AQUATIC PLANT STIMULANT helps both flowering and
oxygenating plants in the pond. During summer, the pond is most
susceptible to algae blooms. The health of pond plants is important
because plants use the nutrients responsible for algae blooms.
Excess fish foods and decomposing plant matter can cause
dangerous ammonia and nitrite to appear in the pond. Acid rain can
cause lowering of ph, disrupting the proper biological balance in
the pond. Test the water regularly with DRY-TAB test kits to monitor
water conditions. POND-ZYME should be used throughout the summer to
break down fish waste, dead plants, and algae. The need for water
changes may become more frequent. Use CHLORINE AND HEAVY METAL
NEUTRALIZER when adding water. Add STRESS COAT to prevent diseases
and to condition fish skin.
During the hot summer days, even the cleanest pond can experience
low oxygen conditions. Make sure fountains, waterfalls, or aerators
are working especially well during hot weather to ensure proper
We suggest the use of a Mesh Net cover to keep leaves out of the
pool. Fall is the season to prepare the pond for winter.
Reduce fish feeding gradually. When water temperature drops below
50°F (10°C) discontinue feeding fish and aquatic plants will become
dormant, waiting for spring to bloom again. Remove fallen
leaves and debris from the pond before they settle to the bottom.
Make a 15% to 25% water change over several consecutive days.
Add a final dose of POND-ZYME to reduce sludge buildup.
In the early part of Fall (late
August to mid September) it's time to start preparing your pool for
Winter. When you notice a slackening plant growth and a slight drop
in temperature it's time to cut back the oxygenators (hard). They
are not needed as much as the weather begins to cool. If it's at all
possible, remove all the old flower blooms and leaves from the water
lilies as they brown. Cut back all marginals (bog plants) after the
first frost hits them and turns them to an ugly brown. Try to keep
as many of the falling leaves and debris out of the pond to
eliminate falling leaves from trees and shrubs entering the pool.
THE WHOLE THING IN A NUTSHELL IS TO KEEP AS MUCH ORGANIC MATTER OUT
OF THE POOL AS POSSIBLE. WHEN WINTER COMES AND THESE
THINGS DECOMPOSE, TOXIC LEVELS OF METHANE AND HYDROGEN SULFIDE MAY
If a covering of ice coats the pool for even just a few days, the
natural gas exchange through the water surfaces is cut off and the
fish can suffocate. To open a hole in the ice, place a bowl of
boiling water on the surface and allow it to melt its way through;
adding fresh boiling water as needed. To help maintain an
opening, a small immersion heating unit (pool heater) can be used
when threats of a real freeze occur. If there is no power source for
a heater the best thing to do is to cover the end or corner of the
pool with polyethylene. If the pool is a small one, completely
covering it for severe weather is a practical way to go and a clear
sheeting should be used to allow light penetration.
Hitting the surface of a frozen pool to make a hole is not a good
idea. The pounding creates shock waves which can kill the fish.
Also, the stress created by pounding on the ice can cause fractures
to fiberglass pools and punctures to the liner can also occur. To
avoid stress on liners, fiberglass inserts, or concrete, floating of
compressible objects which will absorb the pressures and take the
strain off the walls is a help. Planks or logs are ideal.
Polystyrene boxes which are ballasted with stone to prevent them
from floating too high in the water are also good.
Cleaning your pool in the Fall or early Spring when temperatures
are 45 to 70°F is recommended. Avoid cleaning your pool during the
summer (unless it is necessary due to foul water or chemicals
accidentally spilled into the pool) since the fish will stress
easily at this time of year.
Holding tank for fish
Pump and tubing or hose
boards to cover holding tank
Dechlor or Aquasafe
Extension cords if necessary (UL outdoor
- Set up holding tank for fish in a shaded area. Clean plastic
trash cans, tubs, or wading pools are suitable. If possible,
- Fill holding tank with original pool water.
- Remove fish, snails, tadpoles, etc. to holding tank and
cover with netting or board.
- Pump remaining water out of the pool.
- Remove plants and cover with wet newspaper. Place them in a
- Bail out any remaining water.
- scrub the pool floor with a stiff brush and clean water. Do
not remove any beneficial algae from the walls of the pool.
- Rinse and drain.
- Fill pool.
- Add Dechlor or Aquasafe according to label directions.
- Add Medifin according to label directions to eliminate any
potential parasite problems.
- Reintroduce fish by adding the new, treated pond water to
the holding tank so that the water temperature in the holding
tank is within 3°F of the pond water. Replace fish into
- Repot plants if necessary and put them back into the pool.
- If applicable, clean filter.
A biological filter is an important part of the ecosystem in any
pond. It provides the bacteria necessary to remove the harmful
pollutants in pond water. The biological filter comprises two
species of nitrifying bacteria, nitrosomonas, and nitrobacter. The nitrosomonas species convert poisonous ammonia into nitrite,
which is relatively non-toxic and is used as a nitrogen food source
by aquatic plants. This continuous process is called the
When stocking a pond, add only two fish to the pond each week.
This allows the biological filter time to grow and to detoxify the
ammonia and nitrite. Use the DRY-TAB MASTER TEST KIT FOR PONDS to
monitor ammonia and nitrite levels every 3 days during the first 4
weeks of initial setup. If ammonia or nitrite is present, reduce
feeding and do not add fish. Make small water changes daily (10%).
Use AMMON-ROCKS or AMMONIA REMOVER to naturally remove ammonia
before it reaches toxic levels or is converted to nitrite. Remember,
there is plenty of time to add fish to the pond.
Good luck and don't forget to sit back and enjoy your water
Water Garden Projects by Rave