UV clarifiers are now a common and effective solution for tackling pond algae. Pond algae becomes most problematic in spring and early summer when the water begins to warm up and there is much more sunlight readily available at the water’s surface.
The warmer water causes increased activity in fish and any other animal life within the pond water. This ultimately results in increased levels of nitrates within the pond that cannot initially be fully utilised by your pond plants. With this excess of available plant food readily available, algae, which are themselves microscopic plants, thrive and quickly turn the water green. This all coincides with the increased sunlight that is so important for plant growth.
Any pond will struggle to stay algae free at this time of year but manmade ponds, with their intense stocking are highly susceptible to excessive algal growth.
This is where the UV clarifier becomes indispensable. Algae has traditionally been difficult to remove as the plants are so small that they are not removed by filters. Pond snails will readily devour algae but will not cope with the full magnitude of the spring feast. Beyond this, there are limited natural solutions.
Simplistically, a UV clarifier involves ultra violet light damaging the DNA structure of the algae which then causes it to clump together. These larger clumps of algae are no longer immune to the mechanical pond filter, or even a simple net, and the debris is now easily removed.
A UV clarifier only works in conjunction with a pump ensuring that all of the water is regularly treated. Without any chemicals, there is no detriment to the plant or animal life of the pond. Many pond pumps and filters come packaged as units with built in UV clarifiers. This is a very simple piece of equipment to use but does need to be suitable for the size of pond it is being used for.
Unlike the crystal clear and largely sterile waters of a swimming pool which are maintained by a combination of strong pumps and chemicals, your pond water should be a complex eco-system of bacteria, nitrates, oxygen and other elements. Whilst you, the owner, may well desire that the water is crystal clear also, that desire should not be confused with the essential needs of the pond inhabitants, particularly if the pursuit of crystal clear water is to the detriment of your fish needs.
Quite simply, pond water is totally unlike swimming pool water, Whilst pumps and filters are common tools for assisting in managing the environment, they should be tools to enhance natural processes. Chemical treatments may well be employed for a variety of needs but their use should be isolated rather than standard practice.
In the pond environment, fish continuously produce waste which provides a food source for bacteria, these bacteria ultimately transform these waste products into nitrates which are the source of food for aquatic plants. In turn, aquatic plants are essential for providing sufficient oxygen within the water for both your prized fish and the multitude of additional pond dwellers that each perform their own function in maintaining the balance of the pond.
The leaking pond is a concept that any pond owner should be prepared to encounter eventually. Hopefully, if the pond has been well constructed using good quality materials, once the leak is identified, it is hopefully a fairly simple matter of repair. The likelihood of a successful repair may be influenced by the age of materials and possibly, with an older pond, it may be time for an upgrade of the pond liner.
Identifying the leak is technically very straightforward. Allowing your pond to drain naturally will soon identify the level of the leak. Once the water level drops to the lowest point of the leak, it will cease to escape (other than by evaporation). In an ideal world, this will be close to the highest levels of the pond, as this will result in minimal drainage. How far you can allow the water to drain prior to evacuating your fish will depend very much on the stocking level of your pond. If yours is a concrete pond, it is unlikely you will escape the need to re-home your fish due to the chemicals present when making a repair being poisonous to fish. It is helpful to have a plan for this eventuality.
Once the level of the leak is identified, it is necessary to clear away any algae and assess the ponds edge at the water level. A smooth flexible liner may readily reveal any blemishes but there is a need to check within folds. A textured concrete may prove more tricky to identify leaks in.
It is not always certain that any leaks are within the liner itself. Other common locations for leaks are pipe work to external filters and also water courses may prove to be the source of loss.
Pond snails will represent either a common pest or a useful pond inhabitant in pretty much equal numbers to different water gardeners.
Fundamentally, most pond snails are scavengers and will perform a necessary task of clearing up both plant detritus and consuming large quantities of algae. Coupled with these beneficial functions, they will also indulge in digesting desirable pond plants, this is generally where the appeal of the snail on one hand becomes disdain on the other. Add to this, the fact that UV clarifiers are able to tackle the problem of algae and the pond snails worth diminishes further in the eyes of many.
As a keen demonstration of natures adaptability, build a pond and they will come. It is most likely that snails will arrive in your new pond fairly quickly through either being introduced as eggs on a plant, or for others, being purposefully introduced through choice as a good natural cleaner for your pond.
There are over 30 different species of fresh water pond snails in Britain. One of their strengths in establishing themselves so pervasively is the ease with which they breed. With many of the species being hermaphrodite and one even being capable of reproduction without a mate they are quite adept at establishing themselves quickly in any suitable environment.
Epalyn is the most modern flexible pond liner material and is widely accepted as the highest quality liner available. Whilst being very similar to Butyl in both its properties and appearance, it has the unusual mix of benefits in that it is more tear resistant and yet more affordable. Butyl has, for years been the undoubted king of materials for liners. The real benefit of Epalyn is that it retains all of the qualities that have made butyl so successful and yet, due to the scale of its manufacture for building uses it is now available at a lower cost than Butyl.
Coming with a lifetime guarantee in many instances, Epalyn is a highly durable, flexible material that is not adversely affected by water, heat, UV or movement.
Like Butyl, Epalyn can be produced in very large sheets but it also has the benefit that it can be easily bonded into even larger sizes or in the event of an eventual leak, repairs can be easily made to this rubber type fabric.
The easy bonding of epalyn enables the creation of bespoke liner shapes which can mean a reduction in unsightly folds when fitting the liner. All told, if budget will allow when installing a new pond, an Epalyn liner will prove to be a very cost effective investment.
When using a flexible liner to create a pond, following excavation and prior to fitting the liner, it is necessary to first line the excavation with a form of underlay. This underlay material is utilised to offer the liner a cushion between it and any potentially harmful debris such as sharp stones or tree roots. Not only will use of an underlay prolong the life of your pond liner and assist in reduced maintenance, it may well be an essential requirement for maintaining your liner manufacturer warranty.
The standard product in use for pond liner underlay is a geotextile membrane. This material is available in rolls in much the same way that the pond liner itself is. Regarding installation, the material is more user friendly than the liner itself as the sheets can be utilised in easily manageable sized rolls. As this layer does not face the challenge of being watertight, joins do not need avoiding (although they should be minimised so as not to compromise strength). Where separate sheets do meet, it is best to join them together as this will increase strength. Not only do these underlay’s protect the liners from punctures but they also provide strength where, for example, the sub-soil is loose and is liable to create increased stresses on the pond liner.
Once the liner is fitted over the underlay, it is not uncommon to lay and additional sheet of the geotextile membrane as an overlay. This adds a further protective layer that will help to minimise the potential for damage from within the pond. If this approach is taken, the overlay will need securing with stones and other ballast to avoid movement. When securing the membrane at the ponds edge, it will be necessary to bury the membrane in a backfilled trench to avoid the membrane simply wicking water away from your pond.
British ponds are disappearing and disappearing fast. During the last 100 years, over half of the ponds in Britain have disappeared with approximately 80% of those remaining being polluted to a degree that threatens their existence. Whilst this recent demise of ponds has accelerated at an alarming rate, this is a trend that has been ongoing for many hundreds of years. Britain was once a land covered in ponds and wetlands that have been continuously disappearing through both natural and manmade means.
It is part of the natural cycle of a ponds life to one day silt up and cease to be. It is not unrealistic to accept the demise of ponds, however, one of the key missing ingredients in the life cycle of Britain’s ponds is that new ones are rarely being naturally created in the modern, intensively managed rural landscape. Historically, ponds would form in almost any depression, beavers would damn streams and even boar, which are incredibly hard on land would create ponds with their rooting and rummaging on a scale to rival the average JCB.
As a result of this situation, domestic ponds have taken on an important significance in maintaining much of Britain’s wildlife diversity such as dragonflies and water beetles. In an attempt to promote the creation of ponds on agricultural or wilderness land there are government agencies with grants available. Possibly there will also be future legislation to protect existing ponds.
With a new pond, it is ideal to wait for around 4 to 6 weeks prior to introducing fish in order to give the plants and bacteria an opportunity to establish themselves. The plants will then be able to provide shelter, oxygen and nourishment for your fish. Before introducing fish, it is also wise to test the water.
One of the chemicals to test for is chlorine. Chlorine is added to water in small quantities as a method of ensuring safe drinking water. Whilst this trace of chlorine is not harmful to humans, introducing this chlorinated water to a fish pond should be done in partial volumes as excessive chlorine is harmful for fish. Fortunately, chlorine is easily removed from water after a couple of days providing the water is kept moving and exposed to air. A water feature or spraying the water with a hose should achieve this. Chlorinates are less readily removed and will require the use of some form of water treatment to remove.
Once chlorine is removed from the water and other pollutants such as ammonia are not present, it is possible to introduce a small quantity of fish. As the ability to manage the build up of ammonia is heavily dependent on bacteria that take several weeks to establish themselves, fish should only be introduced very gradually. Fish create ammonia continuously and the bacteria in the pond need to adjust gradually to the increased ammonia production. A sudden influx of fish will simply overwhelm their ability to cope.
The pond pump powering your filter is an important tool for your pond that must run 24/7, 365 days a year. As such, it is an important asset and therefore when choosing your pump it is essential to make a good choice. The well-being of your fish may depend on it. Investing wisely in an appropriate pump may well prove to be more cost effective in the long term.
With the exception of large Koi ponds, most pond pumps are submersible types rather than the large external varieties. In recent years these submersible pumps have become more capable of handling physical muck and debris. One previously common method of protecting pumps from damage was to have a sponge like mesh protecting the pump inlet. Whilst this method was effective, in warmer summer months with algae present, this layer is very quickly clogged up and requires frequent cleaning. Modern solids handling pumps remove this problem.
In choosing a pump, there are many considerations such as the flow rate, the head (how high the water can be pumped), the length of cable, power consumption and the length of guarantee. All of these requirements will be different for each pond situation but whatever you are installing, a pump the runs your filter must work continuously in a demanding environment. If the manufacturer has not offered a guarantee of a minimum of two years, you may need to consider whether the product is reliable enough for your needs.
Older Posts »
There is a broad array of aquatic plants that are suitable for your pond. In order to plant your pond successfully you will need to understand the different benefits that these different plants offer. You should then be able to plant effectively to promote a natural healthy balance in your pond.
Some of the common groupings for the differing plants are as follows; water lilies, marginals, oxygenators and floating plants.
Water lilies come in a huge variety themselves. These plants provide essential shade for your pond. By covering the water surface, the water will not heat up as much in hotter months and the restriction of sunlight to the water will help to restrict algal growth.
Marginals again come in their own extensive varieties. These plants live around the edge of the pond in the shallower waters. These plants provide an important habitat and shelter for many insects and amphibians in addition to being some of the most decorative of pond plants. This group includes plants such as Marsh Marigolds, Bulrushes and Irises amongst others.
Oxygenators are arguably the engine room of the pond. Whilst all of plants will produce oxygen and absorb nutrients, the oxygenators are those that contribute the most to this cycle. These plants are essential to creating a naturally balanced pond. They will also help to keep algae controlled by effectively competing for the available food supply.
Floating plants perform a similar function to water lilies in that they will provide shade at the water’s surface. This group includes plants such as Water Hyacinths and lettuce.
|Join our mailing
list to receive