Having a healthy pond with crystal clear water is every pond owner’s dream. But with threats like chemicals and runoff contaminating your pond causing algae filled murky green water, maintenance can feel like a nightmare. Don’t panic! We got you covered and will show you how to protect your pond from these offenders.
Understanding what runoff and chemicals do to your pond will ultimately help you to protect it. Runoff is precipitation that did not get absorbed into the soil, or did not evaporate, and therefore, made its way from the ground surface into places that water collects, like your pond. It carries with it soil, leaves, fertilizers, and chemicals- like nitrogen, phosphorus, or even leached aluminum from the soil- that can degrade water quality and negatively effect the pH levels of your pond. An improper balance of nutrients in your water is a key trigger for damaging algal blooms.
Harmful substances like rainfall, phosphorous, and even household products contain dangerous chemicals. Runoff can be a combination of all these chemicals and severely devastate your pond. Acid rain has a pH level lower than 7 that can be fatal for your fish and plants and lowers the overall pH balance making it conducive for algae to grow. Phosphorous, found in many fertilizers, is also another algae stimulant. When too much algae is present in the water, they eventually die off and settle on the bottom of the pond where they decompose. The process of decomposition requires oxygen. An excessive amount of algae will therefore deplete the oxygen levels in a pond, which can also cause the death of some fish populations. High phosphorus levels and the subsequent algal blooms are also responsible for decreasing water clarity and producing offensive odors.
So how do you prevent the runoff and chemicals from getting in your pond? There are many measures you can take to avoid contamination. An easy first step is to create a cover over the outside of the pond to prevent the rainwater from entering the pond water. Also make sure to scoop out algae blooms and string algae with a pond skimmer after a rainfall and check your pH regularly. Having proper pond equipment and products like biological filters, UV sterilizers, and Algaecide help to keep the pond algae and debris free. Other ways to prevent runoff are to maintain an effective septic system, leaving or planting additional vegetation between your home and the shoreline as a “buffer”, not over fertilizing lawns and gardens, conscientious landscaping, and practicing erosion control where necessary. For household products, you should take special care in storing and handling. Used motor oil, pesticides, paint thinners, and other chemical products should be stored in a dry, contained area to prevent spilling. Leave the labels on the containers so they can be easily identified. Be careful not to spill these products on the ground as just a little bit of these substances can contaminate your soil, groundwater, and your pond. Many of these are considered hazardous materials and should be disposed of properly. When possible, use less toxic products.
Take these steps to ensure your pond stays healthy and beautiful all season long!