In the past, it used to be much more difficult to effectively manage a garden pond. But with the new modern devices that are now available for the water gardener it is now easier to manage the pond environment and the problem of effective pond management can thus be solved.
We know that for any pond to flourish there must be a balanced eco-system which provides the right quantity of nutrients and oxygen to the pond in the right quantities so your fish can survive comfortably.
The best inventions in pond husbandry are undoubtedly the pond pump system, the biological pond filter system and the UV clarifier. The pond pump can be used in isolation from the other types of equipment or as an integral component as part of the filter system. A pond pump on its own will cause movement of water, either by creating a fountain or a waterfall. This will add oxygen to the pond just because of the water movement. But when a pond pump is added to a pond filtration system the pump will cause water to pass over or through the filter and thus the filter will be able to remove any harmful pollutants or waste products from the water. In addition, a UV clarifier can be used to manage algae growth and solve green pond syndrome.
By using these three items, the pond can be looked after more effectively and pond husbandry becomes more manageable.
In the last article we discussed the two distinct types of pond lighting that a pond owner can choose. Namely, exterior pond lighting and interior pond lighting.
Exterior pond lighting will involve lighting your pond from above or situating lights around the border of your pond. These may either be fitted into the decking or just placed on the ground. This will give your pond an added aesthetic feature and also mean you get your most out of your pond in the evening when the garden would otherwise be in darkness.
We discussed exterior pond lighting in the last article, so here we will give a brief summary of how you can add lighting into your pond to illuminate the pond area.
Interior pond lighting
You can use low voltage lighting that can be submerged into the pond or floated on the pond to add to your ponds aesthetic nature. You might think that lights and water don’t mix, but most pond lighting works only on very low voltages meaning safety for yourself and your fish. Most of these lights will be permanently sealed to prevent the ingress of water and can be directed placed in the pond to focus on features such as your pond fountain. Installation of these lights is really easy and even people with modest DIY skills should have no problem with the installation process.
Owning a garden pond is a big responsibility, and we don’t just mean looking after your fish. Your pond can add real beauty to your garden and can be a real focal point. That does not mean that you alone will love the pond, children will love it too.
If you already have young children in your family you will be most likely well aware of the dangers a pond possesses. And, will hopefully have taken steps to avoid any type of potential catastrophe. If you haven’t taken steps yet here are a few suggestions on what you can do.
The main problem most people have with child proofing their pond is they think the aesthetic nature of the pond will be spoiled. This does not however have to be the case.
• Separate sections of your garden with a fence. This does not have to be just around the pond at its edge. You can add garden segregation into your overall garden design and hence stop children getting anywhere near the pond without spoiling its look.
• Use shallow slopes at the edge of your pond in the pond design – if the unthinkable happens and a child falls in, they will hopefully be able to climb out easily.
• If you know there will be children in your garden you should supervise them at all times.
• You could install a rigid pond cover or taught wire mesh to the pond.
Pond safety is really important and should be incorporated into every pond design.
Most people think about installing a pond filtration system and a pond pump when designing their pond. But many people forget about pond lighting.
A good idea to get more out of your pond throughout the year is to use pond lighting. At this time of the year when the nights are drawing in, most people travel home from work in the dark and hence do not get to view their pond. Having some sort of lighting in place will not only make your pond visible through the darkness, it will also add an aesthetic element to your garden pond’s design.
Pond lighting falls into two distinct categories:
• Exterior pond lighting – lighting your pond from above
• Interior pond lighting – using submerged lights in your pond
We will discuss exterior lighting below, and interior pond lighting in the next article.
Exterior pond lighting
Most people have some sort of security light in their garden that is activated by a PIR (Passive Infra Red). That means when anyone, or anything, walks past the lighting source the light will illuminate and thus illuminate your garden. This may not be the ideal solution for the pond owner as you may want to illuminate your pond without activating the PIR. So many pond owners have another light that can be switched on separately so the pond can be constantly illuminated when they want.
Whether you choose to use a halogen spotlight or subtle mini lights inserted around the pond border, the choice is yours, but be aware that unless you are using solar power lighting you will have to install some form of electricity supply to power the lights.
We have previously discussed how the environment in which you keep your Koi can affect their size and general health. Here we will discuss how the quality and quantity of food you feed your fish can also have an impact.
Koi food quantity and quality
Both the quantity and quality of food that you feed your fish can really have an impact on their growth and health. The best quality Koi foods should be approximately 40% protein based and be balanced so your fish get the right quantity and types of nutrients that they need.
The quantity of feed you give to your fish can be worked out by the amount of fish you have in your pond and an estimation of their overall weight. If you are looking to increase your fish’s size then a good guide is to feed approximately 6% of the total fish weight in your pond in food. However, if you over feed your fish, the fish may lose their physique and actually get ‘out of shape’. You should also always take into consideration the air and water temperature when feeding your fish. A good Koi keeper will get to know their fish and hence know how much to feed at different times of the year.
We started to discuss in the last article the various factors that can affect the growth of your Koi.
Here we will further discuss the environmental factors that can affect your fish and what you need to consider if you are trying to provide the best habitat for them to live.
Pond water temperature
Fish are cold blooded which means their activity can be greatly affected by their ambient temperature. And, because Koi are warm water fish, they will be at their best in warmer temperatures. That does not mean cold temperatures will harm the fish, only that in warmer temperatures they will be more active, feed more and thus have a greater potential for growth.
Pond water quality
It can not be understated how poor pond water quality can affect the growth of your fish. If your pond’s eco system is not in balance, it can really have a detrimental affect on your fish’s health. Making sure you pond’s filter system is working correctly and efficiently at all times is really important, as is checking for changes to the pond regularly, such as overgrowth of algae or green pond syndrome.
We will discuss what food to feed your fish, and in what quantities, in the next article.
If you have your own Koi pond or have just inherited one after moving home, there is loads of information that you need to know so you can keep your fish healthy.
Koi diet and growth
There are quite a few things that can effect Koi growth, the most notable of which is the environment in which they are kept. Other notable additions to this are their diet and the fish’s genetic make-up.
The size of your pond will have a real impact on the size of your fish. If you have a large pond with a large surface area and only have a small quantity of fish then of course your fish will be able to grow larger. It is worth noting that the fish will only grow to the space permitted by the pond area.
If you overstock your pond you will create competition between the fish which will affect their size negatively. Also if you have a small quantity of fish in your pond the stress they will feel will also be minimised meaning they will be able to grow much larger in size.
We will discuss how water temperature and water quality affect your fish in the next article.
Most types of pond fish that are kept in the UK are distantly (or more closely) related to the common carp and are used to the various climatic conditions that the UK is famous for.
Unlike mammals, fish are cold blooded which means that they have a body temperature that is affected by their local environment i.e. the water temperature. While mammals keep a constant body temperature, fish do not. If the water temperature is warm the fish will be warmer and hence more active and likely to need to feed more. When the water temperature is cold, their metabolism slows down and hence they become slower in their actions and hence do not need feeding as much.
Your pond fish will realise that the onset of winter is approaching and will adjust their behaviour accordingly. The subtle changes in water temperature during the late summer and early autumn months will lead to them storing sufficient energy to last the winter months without needing to feed. When the temperature of your pond drops below an average figure of around 7°C the fish will actually show little activity at all and will be unlikely to need to feed again until the temperature rises in the spring
Most people realise what their pond filters and pond pumps do in their pond but are still a little in the dark regarding ultraviolet pond lights (pardon the pun).
Why should I use an ultraviolet pond light?
Ultraviolet (UV) pond lights can be called many things. You may have heard the terms pond lamps, pond clarifiers, or even sterilisers. The terms can mean different things but in general a UV pond light is used to eradicate green water problems. You may have seen ponds in the past that look like a ‘pea soup’. This has happened because of an algal bloom, if your ponds eco system is not balanced, algae can start to grow rapidly. This phenomenon is mostly seen in the spring to summer months and hence this is when your UV pond light will do most of its work. You can get chemical treatments that can get rid of your algae but most are only a short term solution and the algae will quickly re-colonise your pond.
There are different types of UV pond lights available and a quick look on your aquatic retailer’s website will give you an idea about the costs involved in installing one.
A great feature to include in your pond design is a fountain or a waterfall. Often, to get the best from these features you will have to use a stand-alone pond pump in the design.
If you only have a relatively small pond then adding a fountain may well look out of place and the amount of potential water loss any have a detrimental effect on your pond wildlife. However, if you have a large enough pond, adding a fountain will give your pond a great aesthetic look and add the quiet sounds of moving water to your garden.
It is important not to install a high powered pump that will jettison all your pond water 20 feet into the air if your pond cannot cope with that amount of water loss. Fit your fountain around your current pond design, you will be the best person to estimate how high you want the fountain to reach and where it will look best in your pond.
It is important to remember that adding a fountain will lead to more water loss than you think due to splashing and evaporation.