Most pond owners, even beginners, are aware of the importance of changing the water. But when should it be done? How often? And is it possible to overdo it? Below is a comprehensive guide to water changes and when and how to do it the right way.
Common Factors That Require A Water Change
The good news about backyard ponds is that their water does not have to be changed as much as indoor aquariums. This is due to their greater size and the fact that many have an ecosystem that is acclimated well due to the presence of a filter and pump. However, there are a number of telltale signs that the water needs to be changed, one of which is clear water that suddenly turns cloudy. There are a number of potential underlying causes, such as fish which are overfed, overpopulated, a bloom in algae, insufficient beneficial bacteria and poor oxygenation.
Feeding The Fish Excessively
Overfeeding is a common mistake made by novice pond owners. Fish typically need about ¼ of the food that they are usually given, and if you give them more than this, they simply won’t eat it, leaving the food to dissolve in the water, which will rapidly erode its quality. You see, fish are not like humans, who often eat more than they should. Obesity isn’t a problem for them as they will only eat what is necessary, leaving anything else behind. So be sure you’re only giving your fish what they need.
This is another mistake commonly made by beginners. They add fish to their pond without taking the time to determine if each individual specimen has sufficient space for their needs. The more fish you have in a given space, the more waste they will produce, and the more waste, the faster the water quality will decline. Aside from this, the fish will also become stressed, more aggressive and susceptible to disease. Each species of pond fish, whether sturgeon, koi, or goldfish, will have its own space requirements, and it is important to do your research and make sure your pond is large enough to accommodate the fish that are within it.
Almost every pond will experience an algae bloom at some point. It can be very difficult to get rid of once it sets in, because even if you change the water you will also eradicate the helpful bacteria, which is the equivalent of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The best solution is to prevent algae from emerging by ensuring the pond is not directly in the sunlight for more than six hours a day.
Beneficial Bacteria and Oxygenation
Any pond which is devoid of helpful bacteria will typically be abundant in bad bacteria, which will damage the water and require it to be changed. The helpful bacteria are responsible for dissolving any particles present in the water to ensure it remains clear. When combined with a good filter and pump, the pond will be rich in oxygen which is extremely important for any fish and other animals which reside in it.