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What pond equipment to use

Resized image of fish pond, 1 Resized image of fish pond, 2 Resized image of fish pond, 3 Resized image of fish pond, 4 Resized image of pond surrounding area, 1 Resized image of pond surrounding area, 2 Resized image of pond waterfall

Introduction

When working out a budget for building a pond, we must always take into consideration the extra equipment that is needed to keep our pond healthy and clean. There is no point in finishing the pond just to realize that we can’t afford the equipment to maintain it.

When working out a budget for building a pond, we must always take into consideration the extra equipment that is needed to keep our pond healthy and clean. There is no point in finishing the pond just to realize that we can’t afford the equipment to maintain it.

Some items are essential; some are bought purely to make life easier for ourselves in the everyday tasks that have to be performed.

Pond filter

The most important piece of equipment needed is a good quality filtration system that is capable of mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. This is the mainstay to keeping your water quality high. Always purchase the best system you can afford, cutting corners will lead to heartache at a later date, never try to use a large external aquarium filter for your pond, they are not safe for outdoor use.

Most models of filters work on the same principles, water is pulled in by means of a water pump, the water then flows over filter matting to remove the debris (this is your mechanical filtration), then the water passes through filter media which contains beneficial bacteria to break down the toxins (this is your biological filtration, finally most filters will have space in them for chemical media to remove nitrates, phosphates etc.

As stated, the filter will not run without being attached to a submersible water pump by means of tubing. The same rules apply with the pumps, buy the best quality you can afford but also check the rating of the pump to make sure it is compatible with the filter you are attaching it to. There is no point attaching a massively rated pump to a small filter box, it would just spill out everywhere as the box would not be able to handle it.

Most filter housings are made so that they can be partially buried at the side of the pond, this will prevent any unsightly equipment being in view, and another option is to place them in a specially built storage unit.

Pond skimmer

A great aid to your filter is the addition of a skimmer; this will remove any debris such as fallen leaves from the water surface, thus preventing your filter from blocking up. It is important to make sure no debris is allowed to sink to the bottom of the pond as it will soon foul your water as it starts to decay. Skimmers are also designed to be hidden out of view; normally they are buried at the side of the pond so that the inlet is level with the water surface. Skimmers consist of housing where a submersible pump is placed to draw in water; this is then pulled through a leaf basket and filter matting to trap most of the debris. The water is then sent to the main filter via tubing for the full filtration process to take place.

Skimmer Net

Not everyone has a skimmer so a simple skimming net is the next alternative. Quite simply this is a net on a long telescopic handle which is used to remove as much debris by hand as possible. This task should be undertaken on a daily basis when the trees start shedding their leaves.

UV Steriliser

In some filters the UV sterilizer might already be built in, check when you purchase your unit. If not then a separate unit should be bought. Basically a UV is an ultra violet light that water passes through as part of the cleansing process. The light will cut out algal blooms in the ponds as well as killing off any parasites or unwanted bacteria in the water that could cause infections. The ultra violet light shortens the cell lifespan giving them less chance to reproduce, therefore less chance of infecting the water. There are different ratings for the various size units so always check before purchasing which wattage you will require for your size of pond. The tubes that go inside the sterilizers only last for 6 months, they must be replaced after that time period or they will become ineffective.

Aerator

The water in your pond needs a high level of oxygen contained in it for your fish to be healthy. As the temp in the air raises, the oxygen levels will drop, this is when it is crucial to add an aerator or build in a waterfall to your pond design. Most aerators are simply an air pump with an air stone connected by means of tubing to the pump. This will add a stream of air bubbles to your water, giving it more oxygen.

With a waterfall, when the water drops to the pond surface, it will pull in the air with it. This now means that not only does the waterfall look nice but it is also a useful tool as well.

Thermometer

The amount of food we give to the fish is very dependant on the temperature of the pond water, especially if keeping Koi carp; this is why a thermometer is required.

If the water is between 50°F - 60°F then no food should be offered, between 60°F - 70°F only low protein food should be given. Between 70°F - 80°F, higher protein feeds can be supplied but this needs to switch back to a low protein diet as the water temperature starts to drop at the back end of the year. Water temperature can also affect readings from test kits as well; this should be appreciated when obtaining results at different times of the year.

Water test kits

As with aquariums it is crucial to know what your water parameters are at any given time so testing should be carried out on a regular basis. All good test kits should contain solutions for testing ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH and dissolved oxygen. If you don’t know if your water isn’t up to scratch then you cannot remedy any problems.

Pond Netting

Netting is a great item for three main reasons, it will help catch any falling leaves thus preventing them from sinking in the water, it will stop your fish from jumping out of the pond which has been known to happen with quite a few species of fish, but the main reason for me is the fact that it will also prevent predators like cats or herons getting in.

It can also act as a safety feature if anyone was to accidentally fall into the pond, if the net is securely tied then they will be easy to get out.

Pond Heaters

One of the harshest times of the year for any pond has to be over the winter. If the pond is allowed to freeze over then this can cause problems for the fish. Toxic gases can become trapped under the ice; these will poison your livestock. Investing in a good pond heater or a de-icer will prevent this. Most of the heaters on the market should run at a fairly low wattage so they will not shoot up the electric bills.

Please remember that any electrical equipment used on your pond should be connected to weatherproof sockets or wired through to internal sockets to prevent injury to yourself or to other people.

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