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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Seeing Clear

Obtaining crystal clear water in your pond isn't impossible if you have the right tools. Picture this: Your lawn is perfectly manicured, your garden is in full bloom and your pond is murky, with an extra helping of green algae. This is the scenario that many water gardeners face. They think that it is normal for their ponds to look nice and clear in the spring, and then turn green with algae blooms when the weather warms up. They believe that having a green pond is normal and there is nothing you can do about it.

Most water gardeners haven't been properly instructed on the dynamics, particularly filtration, of keeping a pond either by the pond installer or the store that they bought their equipment from.

Proper Filtration = Clear Water

The two primary causes of murky water are algae and debris. These are taken care of by the filter system, which will remove debris from the water and will stunt algae growth.

Filtration isn't the only factor to keep in mind. You can't just slap a filter and a UV light on a pond and call it a day. Things like fish load, rock on the bottom and dead spots can severely affect any filter system's ability to do its job.

The Smart Pond

A smart pond will include a surface skimmer, bottom drain and mid-water returns (to control the current in the pond).

Unfortunately, the majority of ponds installed in the US feature a skimmer, a waterfall and about half a dump truck load of gravel. These ponds work for about a year, then you need to power wash and pump all the fish waste out of the pond. This process needs to be repeated semi-annually.

A smart pond, with the proper filtration equipment, will remove and contain the fish waste as soon as possible. It will not allow the waste to build up at the bottom of the pond and fester. Removing the waste that the fish produce is key to maintaining a crystal clear pond.

Most ponds can be easily maintained with a filter system that consists of a bead filter and a UV light. The bead filter will handle the fish waste and the UV light will sterilize the algae that causes green water.

What about barley straw?

Bales of barley straw can be added to the pond and in eight weeks, the bacteria that produce an algaecide mature. Your water then starts to clear up. You end up with a nice view of a hay barn dumping ground.

Not only are UV lights are installed out of sight and out of mind, but they start to clear the water in your pond as soon as they are turned on. Your pond will clear up in a few days versus waiting a few weeks.

Many “experts” will tell you that in order to have clear water, you will need to add enzymes and an assortment of other chemicals to the pond on a regular basis. With a smart pond, no chemicals are needed for water clarity.

Most people assume that a clear pond requires a lot of maintenance and upkeep. If a pond has proper filtration, keeping it clean is a breeze.