We begin to ready our ponds in the spring by removing nets from the pond and moving our hardy plants up above the freeze line and positioning them in their proper places in the pond. If any debris found its way into your pond over the winter months, now is the time to clean it out. Without removal, nutrients will continue to accumulate in the pond.
In early spring, we recommend that you clean the shelves of your pond. We recommend that you keep dead leaves trimmed from your plants and clean debris that falls in the water, all summer long.
Your plants have been dormant throughout the winter but your fish have added ammonia and nitrates, even though you haven't been feeding them through the winter. If the weather is still cool, your waterlilies and marginals have not started their uptake of nutrients yet. This is when most of our customers call to complain about the dreaded "pea green water" . In the north, it is still too early to add water hyacinths and water lettuce, as these are tropicals and need very warm water (consistently 65 degree weather, no cold nights) and strong sunlight to grow. If you add water hyacinths and water lettuce to a cold pond, they will turn yellow and die.Tropical waterlilies need very warm water and cannot be placed in your pond until the water is warm, or they will go into dormancy. We always recommend that you add plants to increase the uptake of nutrients in the water.We recommend that you add waterlilies to add shade and take up nutrients, marginal plants in fabric planting bags to increase uptake of nutrients and oxygenators to add oxygen and take up nutrients as well!
Using plants in your pond filtration system has tremendous effects on the quality of water in your pond. Aquatic plants help to consume toxic compounds in the water like ammonium, nitrite and nitrates. They also remove heavy metals that are toxic, plants provide surface area on their roots for biofilms and beneficial bacteria. Plants help to control algae by competing for the nutrients in your pond and some plants emit a hormone to discourage algae growth! Plants help to remove carbon dioxide while adding oxygen. Plants contribute to all aspects of water quality.
We recommend that you use an aerator to recirculate the water as aeration aids in the recycling of nutrient pollution from decomposed organic matter to living plant material by simply supplying oxygen to the aerobic bacteria that decompose organic matter. This decomposition releases carbon dioxide and nitrogen nutrients that plants need. The nutrients will be changed into living plant material thru photosynthesis.
At some point you may find that you must add good bacteria to your pond to help control the algae until your plants are up and running and doing the job for you. There are many products on the market to help you avoid algae issues. Anaerobic and denitrifying bacteria can eliminate about 80% of nitrogen pollution by converting it into nitrogen gas that vents into the atmosphere. The other 20% will be taken up by your plants or sink to the bottom of your pond as sediment. Other good bacterias will consume phosphate pollution. Since your pond is a "closed" system. Nutrients are often recycled again and again in your pond.
Through plants, aeration and good bacteria, your pond should be in great shape this spring and ready for a fantastic summer season! Enjoy!